Nick Jonas will not be The Blacksmith. The actor-singer, who was attached to star in the new action-thriller from Taken director Pierre Morel, has exited the project after scheduling problems had delayed the start of shooting.
AGC Studios, which is financing and producing the film, pre-sold The Blacksmith worldwide at the virtual Cannes Film Market last year. A John Wick-style high-concept actioner, the film is based on the graphic novel from Kickstart Comics by Malik Evans and Richard Sparkman. Ben Ripley (Source Code, Flatliners) adapted the comic for the screen. Jonas was set to play Wes Loomis, the eponymous “Blacksmith” — a go-to weapons expert for the intelligence community.
But when his clandestine lab is destroyed and his colleagues murdered, Loomis has to go on the run with only his wits, and his unique technical skills to keep him alive. Laurence Fishburne is attached to play Mather, a retired blacksmith and Loomis’ mentor, who he seeks out for help on his mission to find out who betrayed him. AGC’s plan was to shoot The Blacksmith in Toronto last year but fitting the production into Jonas’ already-packed schedule proved too much.
“Nick, as you can imagine, has a lot of other commitments, with his acting and his music,” says AGC CEO Stuart Ford. “Under normal circumstances, he could fly in and out, go to do things over the weekend, and come back to set Monday. But in a COVID environment, that doesn’t work. He’d have to stay in the same place for three months. With a star like Nick Jonas, it became borderline impossible to make the schedule work.” Ford says AGC and Jonas have “parted ways, amicably” and that the company is looking to recast the film’s lead.
This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.