Remakes are all the rage in Hollywood at the moment, but very rarely does a film get the remake treatment by its own director. Step forward John Woo, a director who has long aspired to develop a U.S remake of his classic assassin thriller, The Killer. Today, Woo has announced that the remake is the next film on his agenda.
John Woo is currently working on Manhunt, a remake of the famed 1976 Japanese thriller Kimi Yo Fundo No Kawa No Watare (Across The River of Wrath), which was directed by Junya Sato. The original movie, based on the novel by Juko Nishimura, featured Ken Takakura as a tough cop accused of corruption, who goes on the run to clear his name. The film is well-known for having a huge influence on Chinese youth in the aftermath of the Cultural revolution, not to mention many filmmakers, including John Woo himself. Woo intends to pay tribute to Takakura — who passed in 2014 — with his remake, something he sees as a personal honor.
When asked by ScreenDaily about the movie, he stated,
“It’s a bit like going back to my own style. It’s a criminal story, with love and guns – and maybe some pigeons. I’m excited because I always wished to make a movie in Japan. I really wish I can continue to make movies in different countries. This is my dream. It will let me learn more from different people, and cultures. Maybe after this one, the next one, it will be in England, Cambodia, India, whatever.”
On a potential return to Hollywood, John Woo simply replied.
“I have never left, I still enjoy working with Hollywood. I still have a couple of projects developing in Hollywood. So after Manhunt, I probably will go back to Hollywood to make another action thriller. I’m going to make The Killer in an American version.”
The last rumblings of a remake occurred in 2012, when John Travolta said he was “entertaining the possibility” of re-teaming with his Face/Off director to head up the U.S remake. No updates have been forthcoming, and no clarification has been given as to whether Woo will produce the remake (his original plan) or step behind the camera. It does sound like the wheels are turning, so expect the casting/crew rumors to begin in due course.
John Woo spent most of the ’90s and 2000s conquering America, with action films like Hard Target, Broken Arrow, Face/Off, Mission Impossible II, Windtalkers and Paycheck making him a household name. The films would see Woo collaborate with some of Hollywood’s finest, including Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Jean Claude Van Damme, and Ben Affleck. Following Stranglehold, a loose video game sequel to his iconic film Hard Boiled, he returned to Chinese cinema with Red Cliff in 2008. His movies have had a lasting influence on directors like Quentin Tarintino and Robert Rodriguez.
The 1989 version of The Killer raised John Woo’s profile internationally as a director of hard-boiled action films. The film starred Chow Yun-fat as a Triad assassin, who inadvertently blinds an innocent dancer during a shoot-out. Feeling guilty, and on the verge of leaving his dangerous career, he decides to take one final hit in order to fund the surgery that will restore the woman’s sight. He is tracked by a detective, who becomes obsessed with bringing the killer to justice. The film received rave reviews, particularly for the chemistry between Chow Yun-fat and Danny Lee, who played his nemesis.
So, it seems a remake of The Killer is on the table. With John Woo returning to a more action-orientated genre, we can expect to see the white doves flying sooner, rather than later.
[Feature Image courtesy of Film Workshop Media Asia]