The tragic death of Paul Walker has left studios scrambling for replacements. Deadline and The Wrap are reporting that Anchorman 2 star James Marsden will replace Walker in the new Nicholas Sparks movie The Best of Me, while The Wrap is also saying that Homeland‘s Rupert Friend is in final negotiations to play the lead in Agent 47, sequel to the 2007 Tim Olyphant-starring film Hitman.
Hitman wasn’t a runaway success, but was apparently big enough for 20th Century Fox to feel confident even without Walker’s star power. Hitman was an adaptation of the Square Enix video game series of the same name that has sold over 20 million copies overseas, where Fox figures to recoup the majority of their investment of the film (Hitman made about 60% of its total gross outside of the U.S.). Rupert Friend will play the bald assassin with the bar code tattooed on the back of his neck. Aleksander Bach (Stars) winner of the 2008 and 2009 Cannes Young Director Award, will direct Agent 47 from a script by Skip Woods (who also wrote the original 2007 Hitman screenplay), Michael Finch (November Man), and Kyle Ward (Machete Kills).
Rupert Friend has just just wrapped the Alex Holdridge indie film Meet Me In Montenegro, set to premiere at the upcoming Sundance Film Festival. His prison drama Starred Up, directed by David MacKenzie (Young Adam, Perfect Sense), has just received 8 nominations from the British Independent Film Awards and has a March 21, 2014 premiere date in the U.K. No U.S. release date has been announced at this time.