John Woo reveals Lupita Nyong’o no longer set to star in The Killer remake
Following a decade of development hell, John Woo’s remake of his 1989 action hit The Killer has hit another snag as Lupita Nyong’o (Little Monsters), who signed on to star in the project last April, has dropped out of the film, according to Deadline.
Woo announced the departure at the Hawaii International Film Festival where he was receiving the festival’s Halekulani Lifetime Achievement Award, saying “there was a scheduling problem because she’s so popular right now!” He also revealed that rewrites have taken longer than anyone anticipated, which has exacerbated the already delayed production.
The original film was something of an action riff on Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, and depicted a stone-cold killer whose icy veneer is melted by a singer he accidentally blinds during a hit job on a mobster. In order to get enough money for her eye operation, he has to perform one last hit, eventually teaming up with a cop. The new film will reportedly stick to this formula, with Nyong’o’s hitwoman accidentally blinding another woman.
The Killer has become a seminal film among action fans, having inspired numerous directors like Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Luc Besson. Action great Walter Hill (48 Hours, The Warriors) originally intended to write and direct a remake of The Killer in the early ’90s with Richard Gere and Denzel Washington in the leads. Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr. (Top Gun, Dick Tracy) were later hired by producers Charles Roven to script a new version, but nothing came of it. South Korean director John H. Lee (Operation Chromite) also intended to direct a version starring Jung Woo-sung in the mid-2000s.
The new Killer remake was set to shoot back in January in France and Germany, and was adapted by Eran Creevy (Collide), based on an earlier draft by Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken (10 Cloverfield Lane), and with Oscar winner Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential) doing a production pass on the script. Woo will produce alongside eOne’s Mark Gordon and Josh Clay Phillips, with Matt Jackson, Lori Tilkin and Luc Etienne executive producing with Terence Chang.
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