took Clive Owen long enough, but it appears as if he’s finally a viable Hollywood movie star. Coming off a very impressive 2006 that found him co-toplining one box office smash, Spike Lee’s Inside Man, and outright starring in another steady b.o. performer, Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men, Owen has just booked the lead in The International for Columbia Pictures. An Eric Singer-scripted "action-thriller" concerning an Interpol agent’s crusade against corruption in the global banking industry (if that was the pitch, I need to start shopping my erotic suspense screenplay set in Wichita’s smelliest nursing home), the film will be produced by Charles Roven, Richard Suckle and Lloyd Phillips and exec produced by John Woo, Terence Chang and Jeff Lurie.

Capable men, all of them, but the big news for me isn’t that Owen is earning studio greenlights nowadays (though that’s certainly a positive development); it’s that Tom Tykwer, the massively talented director of Run, Lola, Run and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, will be making his U.S. filmmaking debut on this very formulaic-sounding picture. Hey, maybe the screenplay is awesome (in case you give a shit, I’ll try to track it down for a future Crop Report), and maybe they’re planning on reinventing the action-thriller by plunging audiences into the visually stimulating world of high finance; this just sounds awfully bland for a guy with Tykwer’s virtuoso command of cinema (I’m still buzzing over the audacious mess that was Perfume). I guess everyone’s got to cash in sooner or later. Here’s hoping that Tykwer’s talents aren’t squandered on studio product as is the case with nearly every visually gifted international director.

Production is scheduled to begin in September. Maybe this is a Summer ’08 release. You’ll see Owen as a full blown movie star this fall in the apparently insane (in a good way) Shoot ‘Em Up.