An Upcoming Mark Wahlberg Thriller Could Launch The Franchise Jason Statham Failed To 11 Years Ago

Mark Wahlberg is teaming with Shane Black to adapt an iconic book character, which could kick off the franchise that Jason Statham failed to.

Jason Statham as Parker in Parker (2013) and Mark Wahlberg as Evan McCauley from Infinite (2020)Custom image by Yailin Chacon


 The upcoming Play Dirty will star Mark Wahlberg as anti-hero thief Parker, setting up a potential Parker movie franchise.
 Previous adaptations of Donald E. Westlake’s Parker novels struggled, with Statham’s 2013 Parker film failing to launch a franchise.
 Director Shane Black is leading the potential Parker movie franchise, promising a fresh take on the iconic character.

A new Mark Wahlberg thriller could launch the Parker franchise that Jason Statham failed to kick off in 2013. Wahlberg used to star in a fairly reliable output of R-rated action movies and thrillers, but in recent years, he’s dialed back and focused on dramas and comedies like Father Stu or The Family Plan.

This has been a welcome change of pace for the star because while his action output was fun, by the time he starred in movies like Mile 22, they began to feel a tad samey.

Wahlberg is set to find his onscreen mean streak again with the forthcoming thriller Play Dirty. This is also the next movie from director Shane Black (The Nice Guys), with Wahlberg playing the anti-hero thief Parker from the novels by Donald E.

Westlake (AKA Richard Stark). In the new movie (via THR), Wahlberg’s Parker teams with LaKeith Stanfield’s actor/con artist Grofield as they plan a heist that pits them against the mob, a dictator and the world’s richest man.

Jason Statham as Parker in Parker (2013) and Mark Wahlberg as Evan McCauley from Infinite (2020)

Mark Wahlberg is teaming with Shane Black to adapt an iconic book character, which could kick off the franchise that Jason Statham failed to.

Mark Wahlberg’s Play Dirty Could Launch The Series Jason Statham’s Parker Failed To

Many actors have taken a crack at Parker

Staff Sergeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) prepares to shoot someone offscreen in the ending of The Departed.

The novels have a loyal following, with Parker being an immoral anti-hero who is also oddly likable. Fans of Parker will know there have been many previous adaptations of the books, with the best known being Point Blank starring Lee Marvin and 1999’s Payback with Mel Gibson.

The latter two both adapted The Hunter, which was Parker’s mean and lean book debut. Play Dirty isn’t adapting any particular Parker novel, with Black’s story pulling elements from different books.

Robert Downey Jr was originally set to play Parker in Play Dirty but later dropped out.

While Westlake was open to producers adapting his work, he refused to let them use the name Parker unless they committed to adapting all the books. This is why in Payback, for example, the character was renamed Porter. The first adaptation to actually use the name was Jason Statham’s aptly titled Parker, which pulled from the novel Flashfire.

Needless to say, Statham’s Parker gets betrayed during a job and plans revenge against his former crew. Parker grossed over a tepid $46 million worldwide (via Box Office Mojo), and failed to launch a planned Parker 2.

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