Play Dirty | Rosa Salazar to star alongside Mark Wahlberg in Shane Black’s new film

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Alita: Battle Angel star Rosa Salazar has joined the cast of Shane Black’s next film, Play Dirty. She’ll appear alongside Mark Wahlberg and LaKeith Stansfield.

After years in development, Shane Black’s thriller Play Dirty appears to be gathering pace. It was only the other day that LaKeith Stansfield was announced as a co-star alongside Mark Wahlberg; it’s now reported that he’ll be joined by Rosa Salazar, whose previous roles include the zesty anime adaptation, Alita: Battle Angel.

Deadline, the outlet that broke the story, doesn’t disclose what role Salazar will be playing in Black’s thriller, which is based on the long-running – and influential – series of novels written by Donald E Westlake.

It’s previously been reported that Play Dirty will draw on several of those novels rather than one in particular, though judging by Deadline’s synopsis, it’ll take at least a bit of plot from The Hunter, the debut outing for anti-hero Parker (the role Wahlberg will play). Here’s that synopsis:

In Play Dirty, Wahlberg plays professional thief Parker, who after being double-crossed and left for dead, sees his hunt for revenge bring with it a shot at the biggest heist of his career. But even with the help of his partner, actor-slash-con artist Grofield (Stanfield), he’ll still need to outsmart a South American dictator, the New York mob and the world’s richest man if he hopes to stay alive.

The ‘double-crossed and left for dead’ bit is straight out of The Hunter, which is significant because it’s a book that’s been adapted for the screen more than once. Lee Marvin played Parker (renamed Walker) in John Boorman’s seminal adaptation Point Blank (1967); Mel Gibson was similarly double-crossed in 1999’s Payback; and because all roads eventually lead to Jason Statham, the action star was also shot and left for dead in 2013’s Parker. (Those were just the more prominent adaptations, too – we won’t go over the others or we’ll be here all day.)

The character Alan Grofield (who LaKeith Stansfield will play) didn’t appear in The Hunter, though – his debut was 1964’s The Score, and he emerged again in several other Parker novels. The actor and criminal also got several books of his own, though, including 1969’s The Blackbird, which featured a South American dictator.

It’s possible, then, that what we’re in for is a mash-up of those two novels, though that’s pure speculation at this point – Black and co-writers Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry could have something entirely different in mind, and only loosely based on Westlake’s books.

There’s no release date set for Play Dirty, in production at Amazon MGM Studios, but we’ll keep you posted as you learn more. After the unfortunate incident that was The Predator, it’s a relief to see Black back on safer, thriller-paved ground.

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