The novelty of fresh collaborations aside, there’s no beating the magic that happens when actors reunite with writers and directors they’ve previously worked with. Martin Scorsese found a new De Niro in Leonardo DiCaprio, churning out memorable thrillers, biopics, and gangster classics for any cinephile to remember forever. David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence have only ever worked together thrice, and yet the awards they’ve reaped as a team speak volumes. What about David Fincher and Brad Pitt? George Lucas and Harrison Ford? Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson? Tim Burton and Johnny Depp? The list goes on. Re-teaming often yields movies of equal, if not greater, quality as both parties seek to better themselves and their craft together. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Film veteran Gerard Butler plans to recreate the same magic by reteaming with writer-director Ric Roman Waugh on new action thriller Kandahar, after already working together on Angel Has Fallen, the third entry in the Olympus Has Fallen action franchise, and the grossly underrated Greenland.
Gerard Butler’s newest project revives the actor’s famous fish-out-of-water trope by depicting him as an undercover CIA agent in the Middle East, fighting for his life and surrounded by dangerous operatives. The script plays out just like any other fast-paced Gerard Butler movie: a leak exposes agent Tom Harris’s real-life identity, immediately setting hostiles hot on his trail. Harris and his translator race against the clock to reach the extraction point, and from there, freedom. Some good, old-fashioned twist on the hunted turning the tables on his proverbial hunter. Butler has extensive experience playing characters constantly on the run, whether from terrorists, half-naked Persian armies, or the U.S. government. Kandahar is par for the course for the Paisley sportsman.
The screenplay, previously titled Burn Run, was written by Waugh and former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Mitchell LaFortune. LaFortune worked in military intelligence and served in Afghanistan during the height of Edward Snowden’s leaks. The new Gerard Butler film is inspired by his field experiences.
LaFortune is another Gerard Butler collaborator; he was previously in charge of revisions on Waugh’s Greenland. Kandahar is set to film on location in Saudi Arabia later this year. It’s being produced by Butler and Alan Siegel, Capstone Group’s Christian Mercuri, and John Wick and Sicario’s Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee at Thunder Road Films. Rob Moran, Brendon Boyea, and Jonathan Fuhrman serve as executive producers. Siegel also produced Greenland.
Gerard Butler was last seen protecting his family against a destructive comet as John Garrity (Greenland) and proving his innocence before Morgan Freeman’s President Allan Trumbull as aging Secret Service agent and former Army Ranger Mike Banning (Angel Has Fallen). He is set to appear next in sports dramedy film All-Star Weekend, featuring an equally all-star cast headed by Eva Longoria, Robert Downey, Jr., Jessica Szohr, Ken Jeong, Benicio del Toro, and Jamie Foxx in his directorial debut. Prior to Angel Has Fallen and Greenland, Ric Roman Waugh was last seen helming 2017’s Shot Caller, a crime thriller starring Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Butler and Waugh have already signed on to produce Night Has Fallen, the fourth film in Mike Banning’s action franchise.
Much like its predecessors, Gerard Butler and Waugh’s most recent outing together, Angel Has Fallen, received mixed feedback, with audiences criticizing the film as repetitive, forgettable, and mediocre. The original movie in the franchise, Olympus Has Fallen, was widely panned by critics and viewers alike for its racist undertones, and though its sequel, Angel Has Fallen, has eventually opted for domestic invasion over foreign, the mistrust continues to haunt the series wherever Butler decides to take it.
Gerard Butler is a stellar actor, his characters every bit as complex and brilliantly hardass as he is, but his filmography as of late is peppered with the occasional paltry feature. Perhaps this is one proverbial fistfight he can’t win. Only time will tell if Kandahar will follow in Banning’s problematic footsteps, or rise above them entirely.