Taylor Kitsch will play a villain in 'American Assassin'.

The 35-year-old actor has signed on to star opposite Dylan O'Brien and Michael Keaton in the first movie adaptation from Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp book series.

The movie examines the early days of the titular hero (O'Brien), an Arab linguistics student turned CIA assassin, as he and his mentor, Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Keaton), are assigned to investigate a series of what seems to be random attacks on military and civilian targets.

But on investigation, the signs point to a mysterious man (Kitsch) who is trying to stoke war in the Middle East.

Michael Cuesta is directing the film from Stephen Schiff's script.

The novelist behind the movie - who died in 2013 - wrote 14 books about Rapp and it is unclear as yet how many films the series will spawn.

Shooting on 'American Assassin' is due to begin next month in both London and Budapest.

Meanwhile, Taylor is currently busy working on true-life tale 'Granite Mountain' and also trying to set up his directorial debut, 'Pieces'.

The 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' actor announced in March that he would be moving behind the camera with his production company Film44, along with 'Hancock' director Peter Berg and Emmett Furla Oasis Films.

'Pieces' is an indie crime drama and is based on a short film of the same name that Taylor made which was first shown in 2014 at the Palm Springs International ShortFest.

The positive reception it received spurred on the 34-year-old star to set the wheels in motion for a feature length title which he will produce, direct, write and star in.

The story revolves a Kyle played by Taylor, who has a serious gambling addiction and who builds up a massive debt which he fails to pay off.

He confides in his best friends Evan - who will be played by The Social Network's Josh Pence - and Mike, portrayed by newcomer Derek Phillips, and cajoles them into helping him navigate the seedy gambling underworld in order to save him.

However, events take a turn for the worst when the friends from Detroit intercept a drug run.

'Oz the Great and Powerful' actress Abigail Spencer will take the female lead as Vanessa.