You know, it doesn’t instantly bother me when someone steps in and comes up with their own version of classic films, or foreign films, or classic/foreign films. What bothers me is when they hand it to a fast-food director, someone who has nothing to say and is only on board to receive a paycheck and make the studio a little money off of a brand.
Thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be the case with Media Asia’s remake of Jean Pierre Melville’s incredibly cool, gangster movie, Le Cercle Rouge. Until recently, Johnnie To was the man on board to direct, but, much like a previous attempt to get the project done between John Woo and Paramount Pictures, this deal fell through.
Now, The Playlist is receiving word that an offer is out to John Hillcoat to take on the project with locations in Hong Kong and Macao still left to be used from the To days. Though nothing has been finalized, it appears from Hillcoat’s recent remarks that a contemporary crime thriller set in these locales is next on his plate that he is strongly considering setting this up. This, of course, would come after after he finishes the Christian Bale-starring The Revenant.
There is no word on cast yet, though the likes of Liam Neeson, Orlando Bloom, Chow Yun-Fat and the returning Alain Delon were either on board or had offers put to them. There is also no word on if the screenplay will be getting reworked. The current script is by Steve Knight who has proved his worth with scripts like Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises. Not having read Knight’s screenplay for The Red Circle, as the update would be titled, I’m not sure how conducive Hillcoat’s gritty direction will fall in line with it. However, there is no way to compete on the level of cool and style as Melville’s original film, so, perhaps a different, overall tone for this new film might be precisely what it needs to make it work.
Of course, there is no telling how this will all end up. Hillcoat has been on and off countless projects in the past, five years, and, with the track record this project has, we could be announcing he is off it just as quickly as he came on. With The Revenant next on his plate, attitudes and plans could easily change between now and the time that film is finished filming. If done right, though, The Red Circle has the potential to be one of the better remakes to hit in recent memory.