Looks like Hollywood has picked their next big action director, and they’re not wasting much time setting him up with his next project. Daniel Espinosa likely made Universal very happy with his first English-language film, Safe House, which has already grossed $135m, and now Warner Bros. wants in on what the Snabba Cash helmer is dishing out. The studio is reportedly in negotiations for Espinosa to direct The Outsider, “a gritty action film” that centers on “a POW in Osaka in WWII who goes to work for the Yakuza.” Grit? Action? Bad people? Yup, that’s Espinosa’s wheelhouse.

The script’s been written by newcomer Andrew Baldwin, and he comes with his very own pedigree. While Baldwin hasn’t seen one of his scripts hit the screen yet, he’s a hot commodity in Hollywood. Last October, he was hired on to rewrite the Logan’s Run remake that Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling have been all over, and he’s been on the Black List twice – once with The Outsider in 2011 and once with The West Is Dead in 2008. When it appeared on the Black List, the logline for the film read “In post World War II Japan, an American former prisoner-of-war rises in the yakuza,” so yeah, that’s about what we’ve got for now.

And, if you’re interested, the still-unmade The West Is Dead‘s plot is: “During the Great Depression, a group of semi-outlaws go on the run from the law when forced to vacate a town as the Hoover dam is constructed.” Baldwin likes his outlaws. [Deadline Liberty City]

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