Eric Bana Reaches A Higher "Echelon"

7/14/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie News

Eric Bana Reaches A Higher "Echelon"

By our guest blogger, Matthew Jussim

In March of this year, it was announced by Variety that Hyde Park Entertainment had picked up the rights to Andy McNab’s 12-novel espionage series based around the character Nick Stone. It was only a matter of time before the company would cast its leading man.

According to Pajiba, Australian hunk Eric Bana will play the lead character of Stone in "Echelon," a film adaptation of McNab's espionage novel "Firewall."

The film will follow the ex-SAS grunt as he attempts to prevent a terrorist organization from accessing the world’s largest computer intelligence database.

In the book, the third of 12, Stone is hired to kidnap a Russian mafia warlord and deliver him to St. Petersburg. When he arrives, he soon finds himself raiding a house in the cold wastes of Estonia, where Russia has launched an online offensive to tap into the West's military secrets--secrets the Russians, the Americans, the Brits and rival mafia gangs all want to get their hands on.

The script comes from John Connor, who is also a producer on the project. Aside from creating an awesomely badass character in Nick Stone, author McNab is quite a fascinating character himself. He was (not surprisingly) an SAS officer himself and also was the weapons coordinator on Michael Mann's film "Heat."

Adding even more to his resume, McNab also was the most highly decorated British soldier of the Gulf War, after he commanded the Bravo Two Zero operation and was held and tortured by Iraqi soldiers for six weeks.

Oh, and by the way, adding even more bassassness (is that even a word?) to the author is that Andy McNab is not even his real name. For security reasons it had to be changed but that hasn't stopped him from turning his novels into a Hollywood franchise.

Ever since I saw Bana play a tough-as-nails soldier in "Black Hawk Down," I was a fan. I think he will be perfect in the role of Stone--he has the right pedigree, attitude and screen presence to take on the persona. Bana's upcoming slate is looking pretty good with the actor wrapping up Joe Wright's "Hanna" as well as the upcoming "The Emperor's Children."

There is no start date as of yet for "Echelon," but that could change soon once a director comes on board.

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