The actors join an ensemble that will also include Rachel Brosnahan, Caitríona Balfe, Laurence Fishburne and Adrian Martinez, as previously announced.
Based on the 2014 Black List script The Defection, which was itself based on the Robert Littell novel The Defection of AJ Lewinter, Amateur tells the story of Charles Heller (Malek), a CIA cryptographer who, after his wife is tragically killed in a London terrorist attack, demands his bosses go after them. When it becomes clear they won’t act due to conflicting internal priorities, he blackmails the agency into training him and letting him go after them himself.
The film to be directed by Slow Horses‘ James Hawes had its screenplay adapted by Ken Nolan, with Scott Frank and Gary Spinelli handling revisions.
While sources tell Deadline that McCallany will play CIA Deputy Director Moore, a “kill whoever we want” kind of guy who has spent his career behind a desk, details as to Nicholson’s role haven’t been disclosed. Hutch Parker and Dan Wilson are producing, with Malek serving as the film’s executive producer.
Generating much acclaim with his turn as FBI agent Bill Tench on Netflix’s Mindhunter, McCallany more recently appeared on the TV side in 61st Street, the legal drama that has moved from AMC to The CW for its second season. The actor recently appearing on the film side in Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-nominated Nightmare Alley will next be seen starring opposite Zac Efron, Harris Dickinson, Jeremy Allen White and Lily James in Sean Durkin’s buzzy wrestling drama Iron Claw for A24, and will also appear in the forthcoming Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two.
A recent Emmy winner for her turn opposite Kate Winslet in the acclaimed HBO miniseries Mare of Easttown, Nicholson has also been seen of late on such much-discussed series as The Outsider and Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. She played the mother of Ana de Armas’ Marilyn Monroe in Netflix’s Blonde and was also recently seen in Roku’s Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. The actress is next set to star opposite Nicolas Cage in A24’s Dream Scenario.
McCallany is represented by Atlas Artists, Buchwald, and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman. Nicholson is repped by UTA, B-Side Management in the UK, and Untitled Entertainment.