City on Fire: Austin Butler to play a crime boss in an adaptation of Don Winslow’s novel

Elvis and Dune: Part Two actor Austin Butler is set to star-in and produce an adaptation of Don Winslow’s City on Fire novel.

Austin Butler is going from the sands of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two to a life of crime for City on Fire, an adaptation of Don Winslow’s novel from Sony 3000 Pictures. In addition to his starring role, Butler produces alongside David Heyman and Shane Salerno. No director or writers have joined the project, but the studio will prioritize the adaptation. City on Fire is the first title in a trilogy, setting up the potential for Butler to star in his first franchise.

According to Deadline, Winslow’s trilogy borrows inspiration from The Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, and Greek tragedies but takes place in a modern setting. “The trilogy focuses on two criminal empires — one Irish, the other Italian — that control all of New England. A modern-day Helen of Troy event tears them apart and starts a brutal war. Butler will play the main character, Danny Ryan, who grows from a street soldier into a ruthless leader to protect his friends, family, and the home he loves. Fighting the Mafia, the local cops, and the feds, Danny intends to build a dynasty or die trying.”

“We are elated that venerable producer David Heyman, alongside Austin Butler, will join forces with Shane Salerno to make Don Winslow’s spectacular trilogy, starting with City on Fire,” said Sony 3000 head Elizabeth Gabler. Don is an iconic novelist and a true master of the genre of suspenseful crime fiction and has created one of the most memorable modern-day heroes in Danny Ryan, the complex and compelling protagonist of this trilogy. It is a dream come true to envision Austin, with his uniquely brilliant and charismatic talent, bringing this character and story to cinematic life.”

“Like so many people around the world, I was amazed by Austin Butler’s Oscar-nominated performance in Elvis,” Winslow said. “I’ve had a number of conversations with Austin about this trilogy that I’ve been working on for almost 30 years of my life, and I have been deeply impressed by his commitment to playing Danny Ryan as well as his passion to also produce the three films with David and Shane and Elizabeth and Marisa.”

After his Oscar-nominated performance in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Butler’s star is shining brighter than ever. He plays Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune: Part Two and will star alongside Tom Hardy, Jodie Comer, Boyd Holbrook, Norman Reedus, and Michael Shannon in Jeff Nichols’ The Bikeriders. Butler also leads the upcoming Masters of the Air TV series, starring Barry Keoghan, Anthony Boyle, Callum Turner, and more.

Have you read any of Winslow’s novels? Do you think Butler has what it takes to play Danny Ryan? We’ll bring you more details about this project as they become available.

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