The glory of A.J. Quinnell’s 1980 novel Man on Fire is such that it has been adapted for the big screen twice: the 1987 Italian version starring Scott Glenn and the more well-known 2004 movie directed by Tony Scott, starring Denzel Washington. Now, for the third, the Man on Fire novel is set to be re-adapted, but this time for the Netflix series. In March 2023, it was announced that a Netflix adaptation of Man on Fire was in the works.

What is Man on Fire all about?

Man on Fire is a thriller novel that features a popular character, Creasy, an American-born former member of the French Foreign Legion. Initially, the novel was adapted for the 1987 action thriller film by Élie Chouraqui, featuring Scott Glenn. Later, another film based on the same novel, also called Man on Fire, was released in 2004, directed by Tony Scott. In the film,  Denzel Washington portrays John Creasy, a despondent, alcoholic former CIA SAD/SOG officer (and U.S. Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance captain) turned bodyguard who goes on a revenge rampage after his charge, nine-year-old Lupita “Pita” Ramos (Dakota Fanning), is abducted in Mexico City. 

What can be expected from Netflix’s Man on Fire series?

Both Glenn and Washington gave incredible performances while portraying the character of Creasy. Now that Netflix has taken on the task of adapting Quinnell’s novel, the streaming giant has found its lead star. According to Deadline, Yahya Abdul-Mateen ll, known for his appearance as Black Manta from Aquaman, will star in Netflix’s Man on Fire series as John Creasy. The actor has also starred in Us, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Candyman, The Matrix Resurrections, and Ambulance, in which Abdul-Mateen has showcased the versatility required for a character like Creasy. 

The logline for Netflix’s adaptation reads, “Once a highly functioning and skilled Special Forces Mercenary, known for surviving even the most desolate of situations, Creasy (Mateen) is now plagued with intense PTSD. Determined to overcome his personal demons, he sets out on a path to redemption. But before he can adjust to this new life, he finds himself back in the fire, fighting harder than ever.”

Creasy’s character arc involves significant emotional complexity. He transitions from a broken, disillusioned man to a protective and vengeful figure. Combined with his role as Creasy in Netflix’s Man on Fire series, Abdul-Mateen should be a strong staple of the small screen for years to come.

The first two episodes of the eight-episode series will be helmed by Steven Caple Jr., whose directorial credits include Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and Creed II.

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