Source: The ever-enthusiastic showbiz rumor mill known as Ain't-It-Cool-News.
What we heard: In June 2005, the interests of gamers and film geeks collided. That's when Variety revealed that Vin Diesel would be donning the well-pressed suit of Agent 47, the titular assassin of the best-selling Hitman series from Eidos, in a forthcoming film version.
A gamer since the Dungeons & Dragons era, Diesel helped produce and starred in one of the best-reviewed film-based games of all time, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Given Diesel's passion for game-movie synergy, news of his casting raised hopes that the big-screen Hitman would be superior to subpar adaptations of the subterranean Uwe Boll subgenre.
In February, Midway Games and MTV Films announced that Diesel would star in both the game and film versions of The Wheelman, an all-new property. A trailer for the game was on display at E3 2006...where nary a word was heard about Diesel's involvement in the Hitman film.
Indeed, little news about Hitman surfaced over the past year until today, when Ain't It Cool News reported that Diesel was off the project. According to the site, he is being replaced by actor Timothy Olyphant (pictured), most famous for his role as the emotionally tortured and often-violent town sheriff in the HBO series Deadwood.
The AICN report says that a script for Hitman by screenwriter Skip Woods (Swordfish) has finally been green lit by 20th Century Fox, one of the studios that pulled out of the Halo movie this fall. The movie is now reportedly being produced by French filmmaker Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element), who has all but retired from directing, along with the project's original producers Chuck Gordon, Adrian Askarieh, and Daniel Alter.
The official story: While many sites republished the story as though it was a news release, nothing has yet been publicly confirmed by 20th Century Fox. As of press time, Eidos reps still hadn't heard back from the producers of the film on whether the Olyphant casting was a lock.
Bogus or not bogus?: Though its record is spotty, AICN has a knack for breaking major stories before the trades. However, nothing is official...yet.