Tradecraft For January 28, 2010: Femmes, Fighters And Cold Warriors
Here's a weird one. According to The Hollywood Reporter's The Live Feed, the CW has ordered a new series version of La Femme Nikita from Chuck producer McG. La Femme Nikita was originally a 1990 Luc Besson film about a drug-addled young woman pulled off the streets and Henry Higgins-ed into a glamorous government assassin. It was quickly remade for American audiences as Point of No Return in 1993 (starring Bridget Fonda), then made into an unrelated USA TV series (called La Femme Nikita again) starring Peta Wilson (and guest-starring Callan himself, Edward Woodward, as her father in the fifth season). The CW version will be called simply Nikita. "In this version," says the trade, "Nikita goes rogue and a new assassin is trained to replace her." It's unclear right now whether or not there will be any connection to the USA series, but I would guess not. Still, that premise does leave the possibility open...
Remember that Shane Black movie we heard about way back in 2008 about a Cold War spy coming out of retirement and teaming up with a younger operative to face a domestic terrorism threat orchestrated by Russia? No? Well then hopefully that exposition-filled sentence filled you in on all the vitals. Shane Black is a screenwriting god who wrote just about all the big action movies in the Eighties, including Lethal Weapon, as well as the Nineties spy movie The Long Kiss Goodnight. Most recently he wrote and directed the utterly fantastic private eye meta-spoof Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the movie responsible for Robert Downey Jr.'s career resurgence. Now he's planning to direct this spy movie, but it's (surprisingly) not one he wrote; the script is by Charles Mondry. This is one of the spy movies in development that I'm most excited about, but there's been no public movement on it for quite a while... until today. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, it's got a title (a great one) and potentially a star. Mel Gibson, dreaming of his own Downey-style comeback, is in talks to star as the titular Cold Warrior. Gibson previously worked with Black on Lethal Weapon. He'll soon be seen in Martin Campbell's remake of his own classic spy-tinged British miniseries Edge of Darkness.
Soderbergh Knocks Out Two More
Variety reports that two more actors have joined the cast of Steven Soderbergh's action spy movie Knockout: Bill Paxton and Antonio Bandaras. Knockout stars mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano as a spy who goes rogue to prove her boss set her up. Paxton, once the ubiquitous "other guy" (perhaps most famously in James Cameron's ode to Bond True Lies), has now apparently reached that purgatory for character actors of a certain age: fatherhood. Hence, he will play Carano's dad. Bandaras is "a foreign operative drawn into the mission of revenge" whatever exactly that means. Soderbergh is certainly standing by his pledge to surround his non-actor star with lots of big names; so far the all-star line-up includes Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Micahel Fassbender, Channing Tatum and Dennis Quaid.