Cannes: Liam Neeson in Final Talks for 'A Willing Patriot' (Exclusive)

Liam Neeson - H 2015
AP Images

Liam Neeson - H 2015

Neeson will play a CIA agent trying to thwart a terrorist attack.

Liam Neeson is in final negotiations to star in the terrorist-themed thriller A Willing Patriot.

Martin Zandvliet, who directed the upcoming film Land of Mine, is on board to helm for Marc Butan's MadRiver Pictures, which is fully financing and producing the project.

Neeson will portray a CIA agent who engages in an elaborate cat-and-mouse game with a sinister terrorist who's planning an imminent attack. He'll risk everything, including his own life, to stop his foe and avenge his mysterious past.

Butan is producing alongside Jason Keller, who wrote the original script, Film 360's Guymon Casady and Darin Friedman and Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari. Shannon Gaulding is overseeing for Hollywood Gang. The project was originally developed by Keller, Film 360 and Hollywood Gang at Warner Bros. and subsequently was acquired by MadRiver.

Sierra/Affinity represents international rights to Willing Patriot, while CAA, which packaged the movie and arranged financing, is handling domestic duties. A deal for a wide U.S. release is expected to be announced during Cannes, where Sierra is launching the project to foreign buyers.

"Liam Neeson is one of the defining actors of our generation, and audiences will love him in this role. After seeing Martin's new film, Land of Mine, we knew he was an incredible storyteller and the perfect match to collaborate with Liam," said Butan.

Neeson, who currently is shooting Martin Scorsese's Silence, has morphed into an in-demand action star with major international appeal, thanks to the Taken franchise. Taken 3, which opened in January, earned $89.2 million domestically and $236.5 million overseas for a global total of $326.7 million.

The actor is represented by CAA. Zandvliet is repped by Magnolia Entertainment, while Film 360 is represented by Julian Zafijen and Hollywood Gang and Keller by Carlos Goodman.