Stephan James to star opposite Russell Crowe in Paramount’s ‘American Son’

If Beale Street Could Talk star Stephan James is in final negotiations to co-star with Russell Crowe in Paramount’s thriller American Son, which is based on the critically acclaimed French film A Prophet.

Andrew “Rapman” Onwubolu is on board to direct the movie from a screenplay by Dennis Lehane. Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe are producing through Original Film.

Rapman landed the job after his film Blue Story, which caught the eye of Paramount execs during the directing search.

The film centers around a man (James), who, after falling under the control of a ruthless mobster (played by Crowe) while in prison, builds a multiracial crime syndicate, takes down his mentor, and earns a place for his crew alongside the Italian and Russian mafias.

The original pic, directed by Jacques Audiard, follows an Arab man (played by Tahar Rahim), who’s sent to a French prison, where he becomes a mafia kingpin. “A Prophet” won the grand prix at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. It was also nominated for best foreign-language film at the 2010 Oscars.

Originally set up at Sony Pictures, where it was retitled “American Son,” the film is now a major priority for Paramount.

James has been on the rise following his critically acclaimed starring role in Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk.” He followed that up with a Golden Globe nomination for Amazon’s “Homecoming” opposite Julia Roberts, and is reprising the role in the upcoming second season. James was also recently seen in the STX action drama “21 Bridges.” He recently an Emmy nomination for the Quibi series #FreeRayshawn.

He is repped CAA, manager Norbert Abrams of Noble Caplan Abrams and attorney Jeff Bernstein of Jackoway Tyerman.

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