Though still unseen by anything we could reasonably call a “massive audience” some eight years after its release, the effects of Layer Cake continue to resonate in the blockbuster realm, having simultaneously launched the directorial career of Matthew Vaughn and the MI6 tenure of Daniel Craig. Disregarding its shocking final minute, the sending of main creative forces off in bigger, only-occasionally-better directions likely plugged chances of adapting a follow-up to their low-budget crime thriller — even if the clout has, certainly, been sufficient.
Leave a Layer Cake sequel to, of all people, Jason Statham. According to Deadline, the actor and his producing partner, Steve Chasman, now possess the rights (through their SJ Pictures) to Viva la Madness, author J.J. Connolly‘s follow-up to his own 2000 novel-cum-film; he’s expected to, once more, translate text into a screenplay that everyone’s favorite gruff-voiced Brit will likely headline. Yes, the nameless protagonist (winkingly referred to as XXXX) is returning in a rather different form — somewhat in accordance with Craig‘s current business, actually.
Here’s a synopsis of Connolly‘s novel (via Amazon):
“In Viva la Madness the anonymous hero of Layer Cake is stranded in the Caribbean, itching for the gangster life he left behind–but he’s still a wanted man back home. Soon he joins forces with two robust London criminals: the menacing Sonny King and his paranoid partner Roy ‘Twitchy’ Burns. From the beach to an urban underworld, Viva la Madness moves to trans-Atlantic drug deals and high-tech electronic fraud, portrayed with the same uncanny believability.”
You’re trying to pretend the upcoming RoboCop remake doesn’t actually exist, chief among its (potential) greatest sins the wasting of such a pool of talent. Here’s hoping this next title can pick up some of the slack: Gary Oldman and Jay Baruchel are looking to reunite (yes, they’re both in RoboCop) for the World War II supernatural actioner Panzer 88, with Thomas Kretschmann (King Kong) also expected to star.
“Panzer 88 is set in 1944, as the German Army is pulling their forces out of Eastern Russia, and follows a beaten but unbroken 5-man crew of the German King Tiger tank dubbed Ilsa, retreating across an icy tundra. When they pick up a stranded SS officer involved in the massacre of a local Jewish village, they unwittingly enter into battle against an unstoppable golem-like creature that will stop at nothing to see them die.”
Peter Briggs (Hellboy) has scripted and will direct the title, while Gary Kurtz (Star Wars) and Ivor Powell (Alien, Blade Runner) are expected to produce. Let’s hope they can work out a better poster.
In news somewhat similar to the Statham item, Variety report that Idris Elba will have his own intrigue-based thriller: Bastille Day, in which the Pacific Rim star portrays “a U.S. operative who is tasked with interrogating and eventually making a young American boy ‘disappear’ in order to avoid embarrassment to the U.S. government after the boy is linked as the prime suspect to an attack on the Paris metro.” Are you ready for some social commentary? Scribe Andrew Baldwin has you covered, piling on a pivotal moment wherein “the operative realizes the boy is innocent and may be the only link to the person actually orchestrating the attacks.” Elba presumably kicks loads of ass from there — which, to my mind, is all the film necessarily needs.
Anonymous Content and Vendome Pictures are producing Bastille Day; as of right now, no director is attached.
From ScreenDaily, there is news that director John Crowley (Boy A) has filled out the ensemble of his next drama, Brooklyn. Following Saoirse Ronan swapping in for Rooney Mara, a fine team of players are being signed: Sarah Gadon (Cosmopolis, A Dangerous Method), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time, Anna Karenina), Emory Cohen (The Place Beyond the Pines), Jim Broadbent, and Julie Walters (Harry Potter) now have on their name on the project, which sees author Nick Hornby (An Education) adapt Colm Toíbín‘s period-piece immigrant drama.
BBC Films, the Irish Film Board, Parallel Films, and HanWay Films will throw their weight behind Brooklyn; Lionsgate UK are distributing in the appropriate territories. Cameras will roll this April.
TheWrap have a story telling us Catherine Keener and newcomer Travis Tope (The Town That Dreaded Sundown) will take leading roles in November Criminals, a title Sacha Gervasi and Chloe Moretz are set to direct and headline, respectively. The latter of its new stars will take the top role, playing Addison Schacht, a Washington D.C. high school senior whose already-complex world (drug-dealing included!) is turned inside-out when a classmate, Kevin, is murdered, and Addison takes it upon himself to investigate. Keener will portray the mother of Moretz‘s character, herself the protagonist’s best friend.
Gervasi rewrote a screenplay from Steven Knight (Hummingbird, Eastern Promises); Indian Paintbrush are producing.
One final, minor note: Eran Creevy (Welcome to the Punch) has found a new male lead on his upcoming thriller, Autobahn, with ScreenDaily reporting that Nicholas Hoult (X-Men, Jack the Giant Slayer) will replace the once-tapped Zac Efron; Amber Heard is still aboard for the second lead. Production will begin in March.
Are you encouraged by any of the projects and their recent round of casting?