When I sat down with David Ayer back in November, he wasn't too worried about being labeled a certain kind of writer-director. After all, if the studios know you're good at something, they'll exploit those strengths and, heck -- you keep working. Needless to say, Ayer has been the go-to man for gritty LAPD gang-life stories (Training Day, Harsh Times) for the last few years, and now that Fox Searchlight/New Regency got their hands on The Night Watchman-- a James Ellroy-scripted project originally set up at Paramount -- they've tapped Ayer to re-write and helm ... with none other than Keanu Reeves set to star.
Reeves will take on an LAPD cop who's always played by "his rules" until, suddenly, he gets a "wakeup call" from his conscious down at the front desk telling him he can no longer use the (illegal?) tactics that have made him so effective. Pic, which at one point had folks like Spike Lee, Oliver Stone and David Fincher interested, is set immediately following the L.A. Riots and O.J. Simpson Case -- because when racial tensions are at an all-time high, Keanu Reeves is the first man I think of to swoop down and save the day. Sure, his stale, wooden persona can often get tiring ... then again, don't we feel the same way about cops in general? Production begins end of April; no word yet on further casting.