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Taken director on Pursuit

JasonHowe.jpgPierre Morel has a new project, apart from Paris With Love and the one about the CIA Agent's last mission. The director of Liam Neeson's Taken (Filmstalker review) is signed up to deliver a film for Universal based on the life of the conflict photographer Jason Howe.

The story follows an early story in the career and life of the photographer who is on assignment in Colombia. There he falls in love with a woman who turns out to be an assassin.

Jason Howe is a well respected war photographer who has a number of books and many, many commissions to his name, and the film is based on actual events in his own life where he fell in love with a Colombian girl called Marlyn.

She seemed a lovely woman, and he initially met her when she offered a place to stay with her family in order for him to carry out his assignments, but it soon grew to something stronger and he began to feel part of the family, as they felt he was part of theirs. Despite travelling on assignments he would return to stay with them and grew closer and closer to Marlyn and her young daughter.

The story is almost idyllic and sounds tailor made for the big screen as the couple romanced and courted, but it was a long time until they made love, and as Jason describes it, it was fantastic.

Here's a quote from an interview with Jason Howe I found online:

He knew she had some connection with the paramilitaries; what he didn't know was that she'd become a full-fledged member of a right-wing death squad, and was now working as a "special operative," she said. Her job was to find and kill traitors and informers. She confessed to executing 10 men and women by her own hand so far, mostly ordinary civilians, after her group had "investigated" them and found them to be helping the FARC. "She said she went by motorbike and either shot her targets in the head, used a knife, or, more rarely, injected them with a syringe full of air," says Jason, exhaling in a deep, incredulous sigh. The woman he was falling madly in love with was an assassin.

He was shocked, but he admits that his feelings for her were stronger. So they continued seeing each other and he became more and more used to what she did and her opening up about the killings she performed.

One day some fellow photographers joined up with them for drinks, and their guide and the hotel staff knew exactly who she was, they were spooked and the guide told Howe he was out of his mind to be seeing her. They left quickly.

However things didn't remain so easy for Howe to deal with, she returned one day to tell of the story of her latest job and it not only upset him but it had him curious.

"She told me she'd persuaded a friend to help her decapitate and dismember the woman, and that they'd thrown her head and limbs into different rivers to make the body disappear..."

Howe knew this wasn't the way the assassins left their victims, they are usually displayed as warnings, and when he asked her she revealed that she was paid to kill them by her friend because she'd been sleeping with her boyfriend.

This was the final straw for Howe and he couldn't feel the same for her again. He began pleading with her to leave, trying to understand how she had become this way and what made her do it, and so on, but in the end he just couldn't stay with her.

However it took her pointing a gun to his head for him to leave for good and take assignment elsewhere, over in Iraq. Yet the relationship continued and she contacted him again.

The rest of the story is in the article which you can read at Marie Claire if you want, I would suggest perhaps not because it tells the entire story it might give a little away, or not if you see what Universal is planning for it. The original story is a harrowing and upsetting one, not least because of the work that Howe is involved in – at the end of the story he is photographing three suicide bombings a day.

The potential here is very powerful and could make for a great film, I just hope that they stay true to the real story, for it has enough drama and power and doesn't need Hollywood tinkering with it.

Pierre Morel is signed up to direct, according to Variety through Coming Soon, and the film will be called Pursuit, something they describe as an action thriller.

Well there you go then, Hollywood is indeed tinkering with it as, unless they are filming the war photography that Howe was involved with throughout, this is not an action thriller, and the title Pursuit sounds like it has nothing to do with the story I've just talked about.

So I think we can safely say goodbye to the story of Jason Howe and hello to an action film about a man escaping an assassin out to kill him who he once loved. Good job Hollywood.



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