True Memoirs of an International Assassin
|True Memoirs of an International Assassin|
Film release poster
|Directed by||Jeff Wadlow|
|Story by||Jeff Morris|
|Music by||Ludwig Göransson|
|Cinematography||Peter Lyons Collister|
|Edited by||Sean Albertson|
Global Film Group
True Memoirs of an International Assassin is a 2016 American action comedy web film directed by Jeff Wadlow from a screenplay co-written with Jeff Morris. The film stars Kevin James, Zulay Henao, Andy García, Maurice Compte, Kelen Coleman, Andrew Howard, and Rob Riggle. The film was released on November 11, 2016.
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Sam Larson (Kevin James) is a lonely accountant who plans to publish a fictional novel, Memoirs of an International Assassin, which is about an assassin who goes about murdering people for money, but is having trouble with his ending, especially the signature line his main character says at the end of the book. While playing pool with his good friend Amos (Ron Rifkin), Amos tells Larson about a mysterious assassin, known as the Ghost, who supposedly died in a helicopter crash, but some say he jumped before the helicopter crashed. Inspired, Larson finishes his novel with that ending, despite Amos's objections.
His novel finished, Larson has trouble finding someone to publish his novel, but just as he is about to give up, he gets a call from a virtual publisher, Kylie Applebaum (Kelen Coleman), who wants to publish his book. Larson agrees, but a couple of days later, he finds his book's title changed to a nonfictional memoir called True Memoirs of an International Assassin. He confronts Applebaum about this, and she reveals that she changed it to get more copies sold. He finds himself ostracized from Amos, who feels that Larson betrayed him by revealing information that he didn't want revealed, and tells Larson to stop writing other peoples' stories and start living his own.
After Amos confronts him, Larson tells Applebaum that he cannot be this person anymore, but Applebaum reveals that she got Larson an interview with Katie Couric. Larson initially isn't sure, but decides to do it after Applebaum mentions that she has ten other authors who want this opportunity. At the interview, Couric reads a passage that indicates that Larson was addicted to death (which is why he became an assassin). At this, Larson becomes uncomfortable, and promptly flees the scene, and returns home. Soon after, however, he gets kidnapped and sedated.
When Larson wakes up, he is greeted by El Toro (Andy García), a terrorist who wants to start a revolution by murdering the President of Venezuela, Miguel Cueto (Kim Coates), (thus revealing Larson is in Venezuela), and El Toro wants Larson to do it himself, since he believes him to be the Ghost. El Toro warns Larson that if he wasn't the Ghost, he would kill him slowly, thus prompting Larson to lie about him being the Ghost. Larson then asks El Toro to get him a reconnaissance in Caracas, and El Toro tells his second-in-command, Juan (Maurice Compte), to take him there. At the reconnaissance, Juan reveals that he suspects Larson not to be the Ghost, and threatens to kill him. Larson then escapes while he is distracted.
Larson then tells the nearest police about the situation, and asks to take him to the Embassy. However, there the police reveal their true intentions, being the henchmen of the gangster Anton Masovich (Andrew Howard), and demands money. Larson then tries to call Applebaum, but believing that he is just playing with her, Applebaum hangs up. Before the police can kill him, Larson is saved by a DEA agent, Rosa Bolivar (Zulay Henao).
After they escape, Bolivar asks Larson to talk with Masovich to clear up the situation. There, Masovich asks Larson to kill El Toro, as he would be affected should the president be killed. Larson pretends to agree after seeing Masovich's violent behavior. Meanwhile, CIA agents William Cobb (Rob Riggle) and Michael Cleveland (Leonard Earl Howze) meet with the president and General Ruiz (Yul Vazquez) in regards to Larson, and they agree to meet with him.
Larson and Bolivar then talk about the situation at a restaurant, but before they can do anything, Juan, who caught up with Larson, captures and takes him hostage. Juan and Larson then talk about the situation regarding the President. However, Larson tries to get Juan to steal a truck, but in the process, he gets captured by General Ruiz. General Ruiz then talks about the situations and how they are unnecessary, and asks Larson to kill Masovich, as he has too much power, else Larson will be tried and executed for his involvement with killing the president, prompting Larson to agree. Cobb and Cleveland, who noticed this, decides to kill him indirectly, by filling in Masovich, who goes into a violent rage when he hears that Larson betrayed him.
Larson meets Bolivar and fills her in with the situation. Bolivar then reveals that she always wanted to kill Masovich, as the DEA had written her off thanks to him. She then comes up with the plan that will humiliate both Masovich and the president, but Larson initially refuses, stating he just wants to go home. They are then promptly attacked by Masovich's minions, and they escape, but not before Sam gets shot in the shoulder. After they find a safe place, Bolivar changes her mind about the plan, but Larson is ready to do it. Larson then finds that Bolivar is worried about him, and Bolivar reveals she lost 5 partners in 2 years (though she claims that she was messing with him).
Larson and Bolivar then return to El Toro's hiding place, and they get an army to infiltrate the inauguration ball of the president, which will be when they murder the president. When they reach there, Ruiz reminds Larson to kill Masovich, not the president, and Juan, disguised as a waiter under El Toro's orders, reminds him of El Toro's orders. Masovich then spots Larson, and attempts to kill him, but Bolivar distracts him through dancing, while Larson meets with the president. After they dance, Bolivar and Masovich fight upstairs, while Larson forces the president to reveal his plan to kill Masovich. However, the president finds out about the plan, but reveals he is depressed and hates his life. Larson tries to tell him to make a difference despite this, which will make him happy, but the president decides it is too late for him, and promptly kills himself. Meanwhile, the fight between Bolivar and Masovich reaches the president's office, and ends with Masovich getting killed by Bolivar.
Larson and Bolivar then get arrested by General Ruiz, but instead of going to jail, they are sent back to El Toro's hideout, and Juan apologizes to Larson for not believing him. Bolivar is then hired for the revolution by El Toro, and El Toro brings Larson by himself. However, once alone, El Toro, knowing Larson knows too much, prepares to kill him, but is interrupted by Cobb and Cleveland, who is asked to take him home. Larson is happy to go home, but is worried about Bolivar. At the airport, Larson escapes and tries to save Bolivar, who is held captive by El Toro for information. Just as Juan is about to kill her, Larson appears armed.
Larson convinces Juan to take his side, and they fight El Toro and attempt to free Bolivar. However, they are defeated, and El Toro takes Bolivar captive. Juan convinces Larson not to give up, and Larson follows them into the helicopter. After a brief struggle, Larson finally kills El Toro, who remarks that he always knew Larson was the Ghost. Larson and Bolivar then jump out of the helicopter and lands in the water. They are then cornered by General Ruiz, who plans to take over the country, but first he needs to kill Larson and Bolivar. General Ruiz is then killed by Amos, who is revealed to be the real Ghost, and promptly disappears.
Six months later, Juan is now the president of Venezuela, with Bolivar watching his speech in regards to his experiences. Cobb and Cleveland, who are watching the speech as well, remarks that he will be hard to take down, and that they hate the Ghost. Larson has become a bestselling author, having released his new book. At an interview with Katie Couric, Couric asks him whether the book was real, and Larson denies this, saying it is a work of fiction.
- Kevin James as Sam Larson (pretending to be the assassin known as "The Ghost").
- Zulay Henao as DEA Agent Rosa Bolivar
- Andy García as El Toro
- Maurice Compte as Juan
- Kelen Coleman as Kylie Applebaum
- Andrew Howard as Anton Masovich
- Ron Rifkin as Amos AKA The Ghost 
- Rob Riggle as William Cobb
- Leonard Earl Howze as Michael Cleveland
- Yul Vazquez as Gen. Ruiz
- Kim Coates as President Cueto
- P. J. Byrne as Trent
- Emilie Ullerup as Stephanie
- Lauren Shaw as Sabine
- Jeff Chase as La Roche
- Katie Couric as Herself
The film's script, titled The True Memoirs of an International Assassin, written by Jeff Morris, appeared on the 2009 Black List of best un-produced screenplays. The story revolves around an accountant and author, Joe, who is mistaken for an assassin when his fictional novel The Memoirs of an International Assassin is accidentally published as nonfiction under the title The True Memoirs of an International Assassin. On May 6, 2015, Kevin James was cast in the film to play the lead role. Jeff Wadlow was hired to re-write and direct the film, which Merced Media would finance, while PalmStar and Global Film Group would produce. Todd Garner and Kevin Frakes would also produce the film along with Raja Collins and Justin Begnaud, and Merced's Raj Brinder Singh. On May 19, 2015, it was announced that Netflix had bought the worldwide distribution rights to the comedy-drama film at the 68th Cannes Film Festival.
On October 20, 2015, Genesis Rodriguez signed on to play the female lead role as an undercover DEA agent. On November 12, 2015, Andy Garcia joined the film to play El Toro, a Venezuelan revolutionary leader.
On November 23, 2015, Rodriguez left the project due to injuries incurred during the film rehearsals; she stated on her Instagram that "it is with huge disappointment that I have to announce I got injured during rehearsals of True Memoirs and I can no longer continue". Following her leave, on the same day Variety reported that Zulay Henao had signed on to play the female lead as a DEA agent who blows her cover to help rescue Joe from the drug lords. On December 7, 2015, Kim Coates joined the film, and additional cast was announced in February 2016, which included Maurice Compte, Kelen Coleman, Andrew Howard, Rob Riggle, Leonard Earl Howze, and Yul Vazquez.
Principal photography on the film began on November 16, 2015, in Atlanta and then moved to the Dominican Republic, where it wrapped on February 12, 2016. The crew included cinematographer Peter Lyons Collister, production designer Toby Corbett, costume designer Lizz Wolf, and film editor Sean Albertson.
The film was released on Netflix on November 11, 2016.
True Memoirs of an International Assassin was panned by critics. It holds a rare 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 8 reviews, with an average rating of 3.8/10. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 37 out of 100 based on 6 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews.
The film received criticism in Venezuela (a country where Netflix is available and the main place of the plot), especially by the Venezuelan viewers of Netflix, owing to the representation of the country. Some left-wing politicians of the country even said that the representation of Venezuela and the plot were promoting a coup against the actual president, Nicolás Maduro.
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- Hipes, Patrick (November 12, 2015). "Andy Garcia Joins 'Memoirs Of An International Assassin' & 'Ballers'". Deadline.com. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Perry, Spencer (February 3, 2016). "True Memoirs of an International Assassin Cast Revealed". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- Lincoln, Ross A. (December 7, 2015). "Kim Coates Joins Netflix Pic 'True Memoirs Of An International Assassin'". Deadline.com. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- Finke, Nikki (December 11, 2009). "The Black List 2009: Full Roster". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- Setoodeh, Ramin (May 19, 2015). "Cannes: Netflix Acquires Kevin James' 'True Memoirs of an International Assassin' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- Kroll, Justin (October 20, 2015). "Genesis Rodriguez Joins Kevin James in 'True Memoirs of an International Assassin'". Variety. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
- "Genesis Rodriguez on Instagram: "It is with huge disappointment that I have to announce I got injured during rehearsals of True Memoirs and I can no longer continue 😞😕 I…"". Instagram. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- "The True Memoirs of an International Assassin (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
- "True Memoirs of an International Assassin Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 18, 2016.