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If you see Declan before you die, you tell him that he can't protect his women.
~ The Jackal, taunting Valentina Koslova as she dies
There is no man in the world who is proof against an assassin’s bullet. De Gaulle’s exposure rate is very high. Of course it’s possible to kill him. The point is that the chances of escape would not be too high. A fanatic prepared to die himself in the attempt is always the most certain method of eliminating a dictator who exposes himself to the public. I notice that despite your idealism you have not yet been able to produce such a man. Both Pont-de-Seine and Petit-Clamart failed because no one was prepared to risk his own life to make absolutely certain.
~ The Jackal to Marc Rodin, Andre Casson and Rene Montclair

The Jackal is the titular main antagonist in the 1971 novel The Day of the Jackal, its 1973 film adaptation of the same name, and its 1997 remake The Jackal. He is an assassin for hire with a fearsome reputation in the criminal underworld.

He was portrayed by Edward Fox in the 1973 film and Bruce Willis, who also portrayed Lt. Muldoon in Planet TerrorOld Joe in Looper, and himself in the music video for the Gorillaz song "Stylo", in the 1997 film.

Biography

Novel and 1973 film

The Jackal is hired by a far-right French terrorist group, the OAS (Organisation armée secrète) to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle because of his decision to grant independence to Algeria. He demands a total of US$500,000, as he will need to retire after the job is done in order to hide from the French government. The assassin invents the codename of the Jackal after he is hired. When asked for his choice of codename in the novel, the Jackal replies: "Since we have been speaking of hunting, what about the Jackal? Will that do?".

Taking elaborate precautions, the Jackal arranges a false passport to get into France and forges identity documents to get him close to de Gaulle. He also steals two passports as contingent identities and purchases disguises to match. He kills the forger when the latter tries to blackmail him, then hides the body in a case. Unfortunately, France's Action Service is able to capture and interrogate one of the plotter's bodyguards.

The Jackal later commissions a special sniper rifle, of extreme slimness, and a supply of explosive-tipped mercury bullets, from a master gunsmith.

Using OAS agent "Valmy" as a cut-out, the Jackal is kept fully informed of the French police's pursuit of him. On two occasions when the police get too close, he hides out with a wealthy woman he has seduced and a gay man he meets in a bar, respectively. He kills both of them after they outlive their usefulness.

Finally, on Liberation Day, 25 August 1963, the Jackal tries to shoot de Gaulle with a rifle he had hidden inside a steel crutch. However, the French president unexpectedly moves his head at the last moment, causing the Jackal to miss. As the Jackal prepares for a second shot, he is discovered by French police detective Claude Lebel. The killer shoots a security man that accompanies Lebel but as he scrambles to reload his rifle, Lebel grabs the sub-machine gun from the dead policeman and shoots the Jackal dead. The Jackal is buried two days later in an unmarked grave; only Lebel attends, anonymously. The death certificate identifies him as "an unknown foreign tourist, killed in a car accident".

1997 film

The 1997 film The Jackal substantially revises the character; in this version, he is a former US soldier and feared underworld assassin hired by Terek Murad, an Azerbaijani mobster, to kill the First Lady of the United States in retaliation of the death of his brother, Ghazzi, during a joint FBI-MVD operation. The Jackal charges $70 million, half up front and half on completion, for the hit, as he would need to disappear forever afterwards to hide from the police and the U.S. government.

In order to find the Jackal, the FBI recruits his old nemesis, an Irish Republican Army sniper named Declan Mulqueen. Mulqueen had once had a relationship with a Basque Separatist named Isabella Zancona, and the two of them had met the Jackal years earlier. The Jackal had shot Isabella, and although she survived, she miscarried Mulqueen's child. Zancona describes the Jackal as a psychopath: "This man was ice, no feeling, nothing."

In preparation for the hit, the Jackal purchases a long-range heavy machine gun from a weapons dealer named Ian Lamont. In the process, his internet contacts warn him that hijackers have heard of his weapon, and want to steal it. He kills one of them with an unknown but extremely poisonous substance. Lamont blackmails him by asking for more money in exchange for remaining silent, but he has been underestimating the threat that the man represents; while testing the weapon, the Jackal turns it on Lamont and kills him.

The Jackal then seduces a gay politician and kills him in order to steal his security clearance pass. Finally, he attacks Mulqueen's security detail, killing FBI agents Witherspoon and McMurphy and mortally wounding MVD agent Valentina Koslova. The Jackal taunts Koslova as she bleeds to death, telling her to tell Mulqueen that "he can't protect his women". Koslova later passes the message to Mulqueen before dying, and this allows Mulqueen to realise that the assassin is targeting the First Lady.

The Jackal disguises himself as a policeman during the First Lady's speech and mounts the gatling gun in a van, planning to fire it by remote control. In a joint attempt to stop him, Deputy FBI Director Carter Preston shoves the First Lady to the ground just before the weapon opens fire and Mulqueen destroys the weapon with a sniper rifle. The Jackal escapes into the subway, with Mulqueen giving chase and wounding him.

The Jackal grabs a young girl, Maggie, at the station and holds her hostage, threatening to kill her if Mulqueen doesn't drop his pistol. Mulqueen surrenders his weapon to save the girl, and the Jackal prepares to execute him. Right at that moment, however, Zancona blindsides the Jackal from behind and shoots him in the neck, but Mulqueen is injured by a wild shot that the assassin fires. The Jackal reaches for a second pistol to kill Mulqueen, who draws first and shoots him multiple times, killing him. The Jackal is then buried in an unmarked grave, with only Mulqueen and Preston as witnesses.

Fake names

Novel

  • Alexander James Quentin Duggan - whose birthday was very similar to the Jackal's. He sends in an application for a passport in the name of Duggan and uses this identity until he is forced to kill a woman, which requires him to switch identities.
  • Per Jensen - a Dane who shares the same rough build as the Jackal. He steals Jensen's passport from a hotel and uses this identity after killing a woman. He then abandons it and switches to Schulberg's when he arrives in Paris.
  • Martin Schulberg - an American who also looks similar to the Jackal. He steals the passport from London Airport and uses it when he arrives in Paris. He then abandons it and switches to Andre Martin.
  • Andre Martin - a fictional French person who is apparently a war veteran. This identity is central to the Jackal's plot and the last one he creates.

1997 film

  • Alexander Haslip
  • Charles Montrose

Gallery

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