Mar 28, 2011

Tradecraft: The Professionals Movie Gains Momentum

Trade blog Deadline reports that the feature remake of Avengers producer Brian Clemens' cult Seventies British action series The Professionals that we first heard about nearly a year ago is gaining steam at Lionsgate UK. Richard Walen (Captain America) and Callum McDougall will produce.  McDougall has been involved with the James Bond movies in some capacity since at least The Living Daylights.  He's served as a co-producer or executive producer on the last three, and his face will be well known to fans who watched the excellent behind-the-scenes featurettes on the Casino Royale Collector's Edition.  McDougall actually has a Clemens connection, as well, having worked as a production manager on the pilot of Clemens' 1990s spy series Bugs.  Another notch on his resume that suits him well for producing The Professionals is a stint as key second assistant director on the 1989 series Saracen (full review here), which owes a hell of a lot to Clemens' original Professionals.  So, all in all, I'd say this guy is well qualified to produce a new version of that! When last we heard, Neil Marshall (Centurion) was attached to direct, but that no longer appears to be the case.

The Professionals were super-agents Bodie and Doyle (Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw), assigned to the elite, extra-legal covert anti-terrorist unit CI5 under the auspices of the grizzled George Cowley (Gordon Jackson). Deadline reports that Tom Hardy, Gerard Butler and Jason Statham are all on the producers' wish list to play Bodie or Doyle, and that Liam Neeson and Gary Oldman are being sought for the Jackson role. In another fifteen or twenty years, Statham would actually be the perfect heir to Jackson... but I can't really think of the right man for the job right now. (I'm surprised Ray Winstone isn't on that list, though.)Neeson would be good, no doubt, but he really isn't grizzled enough. Neither is Michael Kitchen, but he'd be good! Personally, I'd like to see Statham and Clive Owen as Bodie and Doyle... or maybe Statham and Jude Law.


Anonymous said...

I'd be amazed if this film actually happens.

And if it does, it will be a bad idea anyway :-)

Tanner said...

If they manage to land Statham, then I think it actually will. His name can get a mid-budget action film greenlit and also sell tickets, regardless of brand identification (which is pretty much zilch in America).

As for whether it's a good idea, well, that's another story! Personally, I don't have a problem with it. I like the show, but I'm not attached to it in the way I am to The Avengers, and the only character I really care about them getting right in the movie is Crowley. Collins and Shaw had great chemistry together as actors (and it's very important to find that kind of chemistry with the new leads), but beyond them, I always saw Bodie and Doyle as more types than characters, so I don't really mind new versions of them...

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree about Bodie and Doyle. Anyone could have played the roles - or whatever other characters might have been dreamt up if Shaw and/or Collins quit.

I think projects like this are good for igniting interest in the original series, but it would be unusual in the extreme if a film like this pleased the fans of the original series.(Or if the film started a new 'Professionals' phenomenon in its own right). For one thing, it almost certainly won't be anything like the series (a good or bad thing, depending on your POV....:-)

Still - let's wait and see.

SIMON said...

Peter Mullan would be perfect as the new Gordon.