Is Owen Wilson Making the Jump From Comedy to Action Star?

Owen Wilson is one of Hollywood’s most well-known funny guys, but he’s putting comedy on the back burner for his new film, No Escape. In the just-released first trailer for the upcoming thriller, the actor embraces a more dramatic side and dives back into the realm of serious action.

In No Escape, what starts out as an attempt to mend family drama quickly turns into a fight for survival. The film stars Wilson as Jack Dwyer, a man who moves with his wife (played by Lake Bell) and family to Southeast Asia to start a new life, only to get caught up in a violent political uprising, in which foreigners are being executed. He must then team up with a government agent Hammond (Pierce Brosnan) in order to try and get his family to safety.

Directed by John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine, As Above, So Below) and co-written by Dowdle and his brother Drew Dowdle, the movie marks a noted departure from the comedic fare viewers have come to expect from the actor. Though Wilson may be best known for films like Wedding Crashers, The Internship and the Night at the Museum franchise, this isn’t his first time taking on a more serious-minded role. Early on in his career, the actor starred in several dramas, including the indie Permanent Midnight, the horror remake The Haunting, and the thriller The Minus Man.

Now, Wilson is segueing back to more substantial fare with No Escape, which marks his first no-comedy, life-or-death action flick since 2001’s Behind Enemy Lines.

The trailer follows Wilson as he shows off these newly revitalized Liam Neeson-style action chops. In the clip, his character attempts to shield his wife and children as they flee from violent mobs, both in the street and in their hotel. As they dodge bullets left and right, Brosnan (who himself seems to be staging an action-focused comeback with recent projects like The November Man) also steps in to help him get his family out of life-threatening encounters. Just when you think there’s a brief reprieve from all the guns and chases, an apparent rescue helicopter turns out to be piloted by the uprising’s violent leaders.

Whether No Escape will be a one-off or only the beginning of an ongoing effort on Wilson’s behalf to return to dramatic material remains to be seen. If he does pursue the latter route though, the movie could be a potentially promising first step, especially since it pairs him with action vet Brosnan.

Still, as fans of his funnier fare will be happy to know, the actor isn’t abandoning comedy altogether. Wilson has two lighthearted films coming out this year. He stars in the upcoming comedy-drama, She’s Funny That Way, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year and is due to hit theaters in May. He also appears alongside fellow comedians Zach Galifiankis, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Sudeikis in Masterminds, the heist comedy based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo Robbery in North Carolina, which is expected to premiere in August.

No Escape is scheduled for release on September 2.

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