Feb 17, 2014

Tradecraft: Ed Skrein Replaces Jason Statham in Transporter 4

For a franchise built solely around its original star (well, and his car), the Transporter series (first of EuropaCorp's many neo-Eurospy franchises and movies) has spawned a surprisingly high number of Frank Martins. After Simon Vance already stepped into the role originated by Jason Statham for the Transporter TV series (which is currently in production on its second season, and set to air this fall on TNT), Variety reports that Ed Skrein will take over the role in the film series beginning with Transporter 4. Skrein had a supporting role in The Sweeney in 2012, and that same year starred in his Sweeney co-star Ben Drew's directorial debut, Ill Manors. He played a recurring role on The Tunnel (the UK version of The Bridge), but he's probably best known to American audiences (if he's known at all) from his recurring role as mercenary Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones. (However, he's been replaced by another actor for Season 4.) He's 30 years old, roughly fifteen years Statham's junior. Word has it that Transporter 4 will be something of a prequel, focusing on a younger Frank Martin before he became the man we know from the Statham movies. (Does that mean he won't have established his rules yet? Or will we see him in his Special Forces days, before he even went private to start transporting?) Variety uses the term "reboot." The new movies are not expected to be related to the TV show.

EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert told the trade that the new film (first in a projected trilogy co-produced with China's Fundamental Films) will return Frank to the French Riviera, setting of the first movie (and some of the TV series). He said the writers Bill Collage and Adam Cooper (Tower Heist, Exodus) have "given more depth to the character of Frank Martin." To that end this film will explore his relationship with his father, for whom they're looking for a prominent actor. This will mark the first entry in the series not written by Robert Mark Kamen and EuropaCorp co-founder Luc Besson (also the team responsible for the Taken movies). The trade reports that Camille Delamarre, who edited EuropaCorp's Transporter 3, Taken 2, Colombiana and Lockout, directed second unit on the Transporter series, and made his feature directing debut on Brick Mansions, the company's upcoming English language remake of their French hit District B13, will helm all three new Transporter movies. So far, an American distributor hasn't yet been lined up. (Fox distributed the first two movies, Lionsgate the third.)

Hm. I'm not sure how to feel about this. I'm excited that there will be new Transporter movies, but I really wish they had just stuck with Jason Statham! He is fantastic in that role. I'm also sorry that Besson and Kamen won't be writing it, but I guess every writer probably has only so many stories in him about a guy driving something from one place to another. The injection of fresh blood into the series is kind of exciting, and I hope that the modest $30 million budget (down from Transporter 3's estimated $65 million) will inspire Delamarre to take the series to new levels of practical lunacy. I just hope that "reboot" doesn't automatically mean turning the series darker, as it has for other series. I enjoy these movies for their completely preposterous, totally daffy action, and their tone akin to Roger Moore Bond movies.

Read my review of Transporter 3 here.

1 comment:

Simes said...

Do we *really* need another yet movie in this franchise?

My personal opinion is that we don't.