Cruise directed by Cronenberg
Now that's an interesting line already, Tom Cruise being directed by David Cronenberg, and starring next to Denzel Washington in The Matarese Circle, an adaptation of a Robert Ludlum novel (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com).
There are so many tick points in that first sentence the studio executives must be wetting themselves right now. Add to that the fact that the script is written by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas and I can hear the applause around the board table.
Executives aside, this is sounding rather interesting. Although I think that Denzel Washington is a great actor, a lot of his roles fall into categories of safe leading guy saving the day or man against all odds just trying to save his family/make a difference, and that's been getting a little tiresome.
I often feel the same way about his roles as people do about Tom Cruise, his safe bet roles aren't that great, but when he's really challenged for a character we get to see a really superb performance. In that respect I think these two actors are very similar.
Now add in a director like David Cronenberg and we have someone to challenge them indeed, and that could definitely take out a couple of strong performances from both actors.
We've never seen the two heavyweights on screen together, but I can imagine that this would be one powerful film. Yet there are a couple of things that have me wondering, and that's the source material and the writers.
Michael Brandt and Derek Haas are good writers, they wrote 3:10 to Yuma and Wanted, both strong films that deliver tension, suspense and tons of action, and then we have the Robert Ludlum novel which I'm sure Hollywood views more simply as “more Bourne” type action and suspense.
If it were these two things together I might be a bit less excited about the project, I mean we'd be seeing a Hollywood blockbuster with plenty of action and excitement, but it would be more of the same. Then I think of it in the hands of Cronenberg who would be pushing both Cruise and Washington for their best, and definitely not mainstream performances, and the whole idea of the film transforms into something very much more akin to Eastern Promises (Filmstalker review) and A History of Violence.
At the moment the article in Variety tells is that Cruise and Washington will play enemy spies who have been spending some twenty years trying to kill each other and now have to team up to fight against a clandestine group at the heart of a major conspiracy, a group callled the Matarese Circle.
That last bit has just tipped me over the edge, they're playing enemies too? I hope this does turn out to be something amazingly special.