Kim Jee-woon, the South Korean director of genre fare who captured the world’s attention with films like The Good, the Bad, the Weird and I Saw the Devil, and then went on to make a fun and probably underappreciated English-language debut that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier this year called The Last Stand, has his next crime story lined up, and not only is it a great one, it’s one that already has a cult audience of devoted fans.
Variety is reporting that he’s been hired to direct an adaptation of the first story arc in comic book writer Ed Brubaker’s crime story compilation “Criminal,” which goes by the title Coward. Brubaker is one of the best and most respected writers in comic books today. Not only have ‘Coward’ and other stories that have appeared in his “Criminal” title won prestigious awards, but he’s also the same guy who wrote the storyline being adapted in the upcoming Captain America sequel, The Winter Soldier. So, if you’re a movie producer, he’s basically the dude whose stories you want to be turning into movies at the moment. Here he’s not just getting a creator credit, but is also adapting his story for the screen himself.
For those of you who may be a fan of Kim’s films but don’t read any comics, the Amazon entry for Brubaker’s story describes it by saying, “‘Coward’ is the story of Leo, a professional pickpocket who is also a legendary heist-planner and thief. But there’s a catch with Leo, he won’t work any job that he doesn’t call all the shots on, he won’t allow guns, and the minute things turn south, he’s looking for any exit that won’t land him in prison. But when he’s lured into a risky heist, all his rules go out the window, and he ends up on the run from the cops and the bad men who double-crossed him. Now Leo must come face-to-face with the violence he’s kept bottled up inside for 20 years, and nothing will ever be the same for him again.”
Coward is adapting the first of six collected “Criminal” works that exist, and while each of the stories are self-contained and feature unique characters, they all take place in the same fictional city and share many of the same landmarks, so should it become something of a success at the box office, there might be some potential for Kim to have his own weird Hollywood franchise going forward. You know, if that would be something he would be interested in at all. There are definitely worse ways to make money in the world than by turning Ed Brubaker stories into movies, but these artistic types can be pretty wary of getting tied down.