The atmosphere was cozy and chic for the New York City premiere of CBS Films’ American Assassin. The Cinema Society and Saved Wines hosted the special screening at the South Street Seaport’s iPic Theater where stars Dylan O’Brien (Mitch Rapp) and Taylor Kitsch (Ghost) walked the red carpet along with screenwriter, Stephen Schiff, and director, Michael Cuesta.
The event was low-key and intimate as O’Brien and Kitsch talked about taking on the opposing roles of Mitch Rapp and Ghost from the popular action-thriller franchise. American Assassin, an adaptation of the spy thriller series from author Vince Flynn, is the origin story of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), a former grad student who suffered a tremendous loss during a terrorist attack and who is now a hardened Black Ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran, Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). Taylor Kitsch plays “Ghost,” a mysterious operative intent on starting a World War and who may have past ties to the CIA and Hurley.
“I felt really strongly about [Mitch Rapp’s] arc and I felt really strongly about… how believable it was, how authentic it felt and just the potential for it to be something really relevant,” O’Brien explains. He also spoke of the impact of the life changing events he has experienced over the last year and a half — from the accident on The Maze Runner: The Death Cure set to realizing a dream of throwing out the first pitch at a game of his beloved New York Mets. “It was a big, long struggling year, to be honest, and I’m really glad to be where I’m at today and feel how good I feel today and I feel pushing through all that… I’ve grown up a bit doing it.”
Kitsch discussed taking on the role of Ghost, “I haven’t played this type of guy in a long time — if ever, you know — at this level. I think that attracted me to it, but also just how personal it was and a different take on a villain, if you will… This guy is American, he grew up, he served his country and is jaded by a traumatic event…”
Screenwriter Stephen Schiff has had his fair share of telling spy stories as a writer and Executive Producer on the FX series “The Americans.” In bringing Mitch Rapp to life for the big screen, he talks about what distinguishes him from the ordinary action star, “I feel you do see a boy turning into a man in this movie – there’s a grad student turning into ‘American Assassin.’”
Michael Cuesta talked about being able to flesh out the training sequence in the movie with the idea of AR or ‘augmented reality’ training. The recruits are put in situational faux set-ups and tasked with finding the bad guy. Cuesta comments, “How did the idea come to me? Just from the ‘Ghost’ idea and also the ‘dress like a deer, kill like a lion’ [idea] – that it could be anyone.”
Star Dylan O’Brien talks about life-changing events, the end of “Teen Wolf” and taking on a new franchise in American Assassin.
Taylor Kitsch talks about playing the villain in American Assassin, torturing Michael Keaton and asks what it takes to be considered a Geek.
We speak with screenwriter, Stephen Schiff, about adapting a popular franchise to the big screen and also about “American Assassin” v. his hit FX series “The Americans.”
Director Michael Cuesta talks about taking on the origin story of Mitch Rapp and fleshing out the characters on the big screen.
American Assassin hits movie theaters on September 14th. Here are some more photos from the event.