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Oskar Thor Axelsson Takes Brian De Palma’s Spot on ‘The Key Man’

Written by on August 14, 2012 

It was almost exactly a year ago when, in an excited state, yours truly reported that Brian De Palma would finally return with a thriller entitled The Key Man. It was heartbreaking, then, when nothing happened after that initial promise, save for the note that things were “still moving along” (as though that’s a wealth of promise) as he got ready to shoot Passion with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace.

Now that his sexy story of corporate intrigue and murder is premiering at Venice in less than a month’s time, it’s about now we should hear something when it comes to The Key Man — the news just might not be what you want, though. Variety reports that the picture has passed from De Palma‘s hands and right into the grasp of Óskar Thór Axelsson, a fresh face on the Icelandic film scene and, it should be said, a protege of Nicolas Winding Refn. A little research shows the filmmaker only has one feature to his name — that being the recent crime thriller Black’s Game — so I can only trust that whatever he’s done so far must have been worth the job. Should be.

The plot remains the same in The Key Man: Joby Harold‘s script envisions a scenario reminiscent of Marathon Man or Three Days of the Condor, in which a single father — who, we’ve now learned, is a “puzzle editor” — becomes an object of the government’s deadly desire when it turns out “his body holds clues that are key to uncovering important national secrets.”

It sounded absurd when De Palma — a guy who can take absurd and make it lurid fun — was attached, and nothing’s changed when Axelsson, this unproven talent, is at the wheel. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun, creative, or something of that basic nature; I’m actually very curious to see where The Key Man could end up, and that desire’s only fueled by Open Road’s commitment to putting this thing out on a national scale. With a responsibility like that now hoisted upon him, it’s only fair to wish the best for Axelsson.

Is your anticipation for The Key Man significantly impacted by this development? Do you even remember the film from last year?

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