Mitch Rapp is an undercover CIA counter-terrorism agent who’s appeared in over a dozen thrillers from novelist Vince Flynn (who passed away in 2013), beginning with 1999’s Transfer of Power. But the 11th book, American Assassin, takes place first, with a flashback to how Rapp came to work with the CIA. That’s also where the upcoming movie starts.
Directed by Michael Cuesta, American Assassin stars Teen Wolf‘s Dylan O’Brien as Rapp, a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (played by Michael Keaton). They’re enlisted by a CIA deputy director (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a number of seemingly unrelated attacks on military targets and civilians. “Together,” according to the official plot synopsis, “the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on starting a World War in the Middle East.”
The violent red-band trailer, which you can watch above, makes the film look like Jason Bourne-meets-Homeland, starring a character with years of existing backstory for the screenwriters to play off of. That’s usually helpful in the first film in potential franchises, which American Assassin hopes to be.
American Assassin opens in theaters on September 15.