Russell Crowe to Star in 'American Son', the Hollywood Remake of 'A Prophet' at Paramount Pictures

Do you remember the French thriller A Prophet in 2009? The critically acclaimed movie was nominated for numerous awards, and won a couple international equivalents of Best Picture. It follows a delinquent young Muslim man in prison who gets caught up in a mob war between two different factions among the prisoners. Now, over 10 years later, the film is being remade at Paramount Pictures under the title American Son, and Russell Crowe has been set to star.

If you’ve never heard of A Prophet until now, here’s a synopsis of the movie:

This acclaimed crime drama follows Malik El Djebena (Tahar Rahim), a delinquent young Muslim man, who is struggling to get by in a French prison. When he is taken under the wing of powerful Corsican mob boss Cesar Luciani (Niels Arestrup), he begins performing regular assignments for him, proving himself invaluable to the imposing criminal. As Malik rises in the mob ranks, he gains more power, but also more enemies, a situation that eventually brings conflict with his mentor.

Variety has word on Russell Crowe starring in the A Prophet remake, which was previously set up at Sony Pictures. Andrew “Rapman” Onwubolu (Shiro’s Story) is on board to direct the movie with a script by Dennis Lehane, the author of the books Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island and a writer on shows like Mr. Mercedes and The Outsider. Producing will be Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe through Original Film.

However, Russell Crowe is not playing the protagonist of this story. Instead, he’ll be playing the ruthless mobster who takes the main character in and opens the door for his rise in the criminal underworld. Since this is an American adaptation, the two warring factions in prison are being changed from Muslims and Corsicans to Italians and Russians. So the story finds a prisoner who is taken under the wing of a mobster, builds a multiracial crime syndicate while being given day-long furloughs, and starts challenging those who helped him rise to power.

Paramount will soon begin a casting process to look for a fresh new face to lead the movie, hoping to discover a new star. That explains why Crowe is taking the antagonist role, and there will presumably be other well known actors in the movie to surround whoever this new leading man will be.

A Prophet garnered a lot of acclaim when it was released, including the BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language and nine Césars, which are essentially the French Academy Awards, including Best Film, Director, Actor and Supporting Actor. The movie was also nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars, and it earned the Grand Prix prize at Cannes. So American Son will have a lot to live up to. But Russell Crowe is about to save cinemas in July with the release of Unhinged, so this should be a walk in the park.

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