Bradley Cooper Could Be Making the Jump to Action Franchise Star

By August 19, 2014

Bradley Cooper has already proven his worth in the franchise world — remember a little thing called The Hangover series? — and now it looks as if the actor might be bringing those series-friendly chops to a very different new set of feature films.

Deadline reports that Cooper could potentially star in a possible trilogy of films based on Don Pendleton’s “Mack Bolan” character. Warner Bros. has already purchased the rights to the serialized book series — there are over 600 Mack Bolan books, 600! — and is developing the series into a movie franchise that will likely include at least three films. As the outlet reports, WB “will develop it as a star vehicle for Cooper to potentially play Bolan, and Todd Phillips to potentially direct him.” Unexpected re-team.

The Mack Bolan character has been around since 1969, when Pendleton wrote his first novel based around the character: “War Against the Mafia.” Pendleton’s work was eventually serialized (though he remained on board as a supervisor), with a bevy of new Bolan books constantly being churned out (that’s why there are over 600 of them!). As Deadline notes, “Gold Eagle still publishes 12 new books per year in more than 40 countries, as well as a series of comics, audiobooks and graphic novels. Besides the Bolan novels, there are the spinoff series Able Team, Phoenix Force, SuperBolan, and Stony Man. There are more than 200 million books in print.”

Mack Bolan

So, uh, who is Mack Bolan? In the first book, Bolan is described as a Vietnam vet and Green Beret who is excessively dedicated to justice. When his family is killed (sort of) by a group of ruthless mob members, he kind of goes nuts, and makes it his life’s work to take them down. And then other bad guys. It should come as little surprise that Mack is nicknamed “The Executioner.” He’s just good at killing! He’s also good at other stuff, like counter-intelligence and guerrilla warfare and even making armor. He’s also supposedly super-merciful and stuff (when he’s not being called “The Executioner,” he’s also called “Sergeant Mercy” and yes, that’s confusing). He’s sort of like James Bond meets G.I. Joe.

He’s just the guy you’ll call when you need someone killed, okay?

The film’s script will be written by Shane Salerno, best known for penning films like Armageddon, Savages, and Shaft. He’s currently working on Avatar 4 with James Cameron, and he’ll pick up with Bolan when that work is done. Salerno himself explained his Bolan vision as a “relevant, grounded and gritty, real-world, PG-13 action-drama film series.”

Is the world ready for Bradley Cooper as a commando?

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss,, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.