Hollywood remaking Woo's The Killer
John Woo's classic The Killer is getting pushed through the Hollywood remake machine, and a Korean Director will be at the helm. John H. Lee is scheduled to direct.
The good news is that there is a definite move to try and get a Korean star in the lead role to replace Chow Yun-Fat, but the action will all take place in Los Angeles.
According to the producer Terence Chang, the film will feature L.A.'s Koreatown, Chinatown and South Central as the backdrops, and these will very much be a character of the film. He also confirms that the actor will be Korean.
"In John's original version, it doesn't really matter where the film is set, except that Hong Kong has this dragon boat festival which adds a bit of local flavor. In this remake, we will use the geography of L.A. to move the story forward."
Terence Chang is a producer of John Woo films, so this may push through into the new version. The Director, John H. Lee, was at first concerned about remaking his film The Killer, but realised what he would be able to bring:
"I ask myself why they chose me and whether I can top it...But then I realize it's not about making it better. It's about making my own version. My strength is dealing with human emotions, austerity and elegance."
The Killer sees Chow Yun-Fat play an assassin who, typically, does one last job to earn enough money to get out of the career he's disillusioned with. He's also hoping that he can use the money to pay for an operation which will restore the vision of someone he once accidentally blinded. However he's double crossed, wouldn't you know it, and that's the excuse for revenge and stylised violence - oh yes!
Lee directed the film A Moment to Remember (Nae meorisokui jiwoogae), which was the most popular Korean film ever to open in Japan, earning around US $26 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter where the story comes from through Cinema Confidential.
I think the most interesting part of all this are Lee's comments, where he talks about his strength being brought to the Woo classic. What the film might lose in the stylised violence, it might gain in character and story.
I actually think this could be an interesting exercise, and if we see Lee given strong backing in the remake, we might find something new and original coming out of it. Of course many people will be upset that the Woo film is even being touched. Where do you fall on this one?