John Woo’s The Killer remake eyes Lupita Nyong’o to star
Deadline is reporting that after decades in development hell, a remake of John Woo’s classic Hong Kong action flick The Killer is finally on the fast track at Universal Pictures! Woo himself will return to helm the Americanized The Killer remake, which is eyeing Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave, Black Panther) to take the title role of Ah Jong (likely to be renamed) as originated in Chow Yun-fat’s iconic performance. This will mark Woo’s first American studio movie since 2003’s Paycheck.
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 will shoot later this year 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) currently 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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