His starring role on USA Network’s hit series Mr. Robot has thrust Rami Malek into the spotlight, and now the star has reportedly agreed to join Pacific Rim and Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam in the upcoming remake of 1973’s biographical drama Papillon.
Malek is expected to take on the role played by Dustin Hoffman in the original film, with Hunnam playing the title role of French criminal Henri “Papillon” Charrière, who was originally played by Steve McQueen. The late Charrière’s 1969 autobiography chronicled his imprisonment (for a crime he claimed he didn’t commit) and subsequent escape from the French penal colony known as “Devil’s Island.”
Although the film is a remake of the 1973 adaptation of Charrière’s novel, Deadline reports that it will be a modern take on the story.
Both Charrière’s autobiography and the original film based on it follow Papillon — so named due to the butterfly tattoo on his chest — through his conviction and sentencing, and subsequent befriending of a fellow prisoner, Dega (the role Malek is expected to play in the film). The pair’s attempts to escape the brutal prison colony meet with mixed results, testing both their loyalty to each other and their will to survive.
The 1973 adaptation of Papillon was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner (Planet of the Apes, Patton) and was nominated for an Academy Award for its music and score. It earned McQueen a Golden Globe Award nomination for his portrayal of Charrière.
Like the original film, the remake is expected to feature a varied list of international shooting locations, including Belgrade, Serbia, Montenegro, and Thailand.
There’s no release date set for the film at this point.