This is how these things go: you’re a scrappy young (probably male) director, and you’ve just scored a hit on a picture with star power and the positive reviews and awards buzz to back it up. Suddenly, you’ve become a hot quantity, and so the time to strike while the iron is glowing white has come. Producers will be throwing scripts at you left and right, and so you’re in a mad dash to discern which one will be the right next move for your career, and you’ve got to capitalize on your own cachet before it starts to fade. Scott Cooper, director of the well-reviewed gangster flick/Whitey Bulger biopic Black Masshas selected his next project just in time.

An exclusive from Deadline indicates that the director of Out of the Furnace and Crazy Heart will next take on White Knight, an espionage thriller cut from the cloth of James Bond and Jason Bourne. Warner Bros. is looking to engineer a protracted franchise around a spy of their own and they’ve tapped Cooper to direct and draw up a rewrite of the current script. The White Knight series would focus on a disgraced former Secret Service agent who takes unsavory work protecting an arms dealer’s family after his falling-out with the President’s posse. When the CIA mounts a full-scale manhunt for this gun-runner, our morally compromised hero will assuredly have to shoot a whole bunch of people.

How this project will fit in alongside Cooper’s projected involvement in Leonardo DiCaprio’s wilderness picture American Wolf is unclear at the present time, but it sounds as if Cooper has finally arrived in a major way. Black Mass was the product of a director still figuring out what works and what doesn’t; hopefully in his upcoming films, he will hone his instincts even further.