Hollywood remakes Johnnie To
Johnnie To is heading to Hollywood, although probably not by his choosing. The producer of Rush Hour, Arthur Sarkissian, has bought the rights to two of Johnnie To's thrillers The Mad Detective and The Mission.
It's no surprise that this has happened, just that it's taken so long. I would have expected the tope end of Asian directors and writers to have been bled dry already by Hollywood considering how successful their adaptations have been so far.
Johnnie To is the next to go though, as Arthur Sakissian has revealed that his two films The Mad Detective (Sun taam) and The Mission (Cheung fo) are getting remade for the U.S., mainly to take off the subtitles and throw in recognisable faces and places no doubt.
An interesting fact though is that it may not be just the films that make it across to Hollywood if the man who has bought them has his way. The way he says the following sounds like he's inviting To across the water to do the directing, but he's getting the script out there first.
“These are two of his best films, and if Johnnie wants to remake his own movies on an international level, that would be great...”
However I'm not so sure that Johnnie To would take up the challenge, considering Sarkissian is hiring writers just now and is looking to self-finance, I'm not so sure that the projects will be that attractive to him. Or perhaps the fact that they are outside the studio system would be more of an attraction?
His view of the two films through Variety is that The Mad Detective tells the story of a police detective who has a unique ability, not super-human I suspect, to see into the personalities of the suspects he's investigating.
The Mission is the story of a gangland boss who has just survived an assassination attempt on his life. He hires five bodyguards to protect him, and when the boss orders them to kill one of their own who has been suspected of sleeping with his wife.
Both sound excellent films, and if Sarkissian can pull out the big financing and deliver a strong script I think he might have a shot at To, if he wants to do a western remake of his films that is. Let's hope for strong casting too.