Monday, January 17, 2011

Summit commissions a script for a Red sequel. Who should be added to the cast?

Collider is reporting that Summit Entertainment has hired Jon and Erich Hoeber to pen a sequel to their hit comic book adaptation Red. As you recall, the film opened to around $22 million in mid-October and stuck around seemingly forever, ending up with $90 million in domestic grosses and $164 million worldwide. In an age where every film seems targeted younger and younger, Red was a diamond in the rough, a spy-comedy that was all about the older generation. It was, at its core, an action comedy/romantic caper starring Bruce Willis and Mary Louise-Parker, but it had scene-stealing supporting turns for Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Brian Cox, Morgan Freeman, Richard Dreyfuss, and Earnest Borgnine. It's easily the studio's biggest hit outside of the Twilight Saga and ripe for sequel potential as most of the main cast members are still alive by the time the credits roll. Alas, news of this sequel makes it all the more unfortunate that a certain major actor was killed off around the halfway mark, as he was shockingly underused considering his genuine popularity and star power (no spoilers, but Space Cowboys). Still, one of the key pleasures of Red was the sheer delight of seeing one beloved character actor after another pop up. On that note, the best thing a sequel can accomplish (aside from giving Mary Louise-Parker more to do this time around) is bring another set of beloved vets a chance to play in the action-comedy sandbox. A few random picks:

Jeremy Irons and Tilda Swinton: One of the highlights of this week's Golden Globes was watching the two beloved 'oh-so-serious' thespians seemingly in some kind of secret enunciation contest as they announced the nominees of their respective categories (you know that Swinton was practicing how best to articulate 'Pillars of the Earth' while backstage). Neither are that old (Irons is 62 and Swinton is barely 50), but both are probably funnier than their reputations would imply. And while fellow screen-deviants Christopher Walken and John Malkovich have reinvented themselves as comical variations on their onscreen personas, Irons has yet to take the plunge into full-blown self-satire (he apparently had a brief comic cameo in Pink Panther 2).

Tilda Swinton is suggested because she too is someone for a reputation for being very very serious about her craft, yet she's not afraid to play in comedy (Adaptation) or blockbuster-land (The Chronicles of Narnia series). It's always fun to see Irons and Malkovich play together in movies good (The Man in the Iron Mask) and bad (Eragon), and Swinton could certainly go toe-to-toe with Helen Mirren without straining. She's one of the more engaging actresses around, she just came off some major critical kudos for I Am Love (an overrated film, but she was terrific), and well, as I joked back in 2005 upon seeing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, her turn as the White Witch may not have turned me to stone, but she kept me rock-hard the whole movie...

John Hurt: Because John Hurt just makes everything sound better. The 71-year old (on the 22nd of this month) British thespian has a voice that has aged like wine. Why he wasn't used more in the Harry Potter series I cannot say, but at least Warner Bros marketing was smart enough to let him narrate the trailers for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Heck, this guy narrated an entire movie a few years back (Perfume: A Story of Murder). If there has to be a new evil super-villain who must carefully explain the whole plot during act three, then best to give said evil monologue to the grandest voice in movies. Unless of course, you act like Steven Spielberg and Iain Softley, who both cast him as a mute, in which case don't bother. When used properly, John Hurt puts the 'pont' in 'pontificate'.

Eli Wallach: Because the man just turned 95 years old last month, which makes him just over a year older than Ernest Borgnine (who turns 94 on the 24th of January). He had supporting roles last year in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Ghost Writer, so obviously the guy is still filling his dance card until the bitter end.

Christopher Lee: Because if you don't cast him, he might smother you in your sleep. It's an open secret that Christopher Lee spent his younger days as a member of Special Operations Executive, which is basically the official British equivalent of the 'inglorious basterds'. Point being, when casting a film about aged spies, best to choose someone who spent World War II killing more people than Dracula, Saruman, Francisco Scaramanga, and Count Duku combined. He also turns 90 this June, and he still looks like he could murder you six times before you hit the ground.

James Hong: He turns 82 next month, yet he still regularly works and teaches his own acting class on the side. You've seen him a hundred or so times over the years (he owned the one great scene in The Day the Earth Stood Still), and he's never given a bad performance. If you've seen Big Trouble in Little China or the vastly underrated Balls of Fury, you'll know that he's also quite funny when given the chance. He stole the latter ping-pong action comedy from a non-slumming Christopher Walken, which says all you need to know.

Jodie Foster: At 48, she's not what anyone outside of the industry would call 'old', but there are fewer actresses that have greater reputation for solemnity as Ms. Foster. Despite a somewhat deserved reputation as the most serious actress ever, Foster has shined the brightest over the last twenty years when she played outside the 'very important picture' genre. She was hilarious in Maverick and her quasi-villain stole Spike Lee's Inside Man from the likes of Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, and Christopher Plummer. Point being, if Sony doesn't take my advice and cast her as the antagonist in the next Salt picture, then Summit Entertainment should find a place for Jodie Foster, still one of the finest performers of her generation, to actually have a little fun for a change.

Okay readers, your turn. Who would you love to see brought into the Red universe?

Scott Mendelson


geha714 said...

Before thinking of the cast, two things: Bring another director who knows comedy beside action and another music composer, because the score of the first RED was incredibly annonying.

Terry McCarty said...

Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Sean Connery, James Caan.....

Xiexie said...

Donald Sutherland,
Meryl Streep,

ezg0123 said...

I am slightly bothered that all the men suggested in this list are between 62-92 while the women suggest are still in their 40's. I do not think that the RED story needs 90 year old men, but men in their 50-60's would do nicely.
My suggestions: Alec Baldwin, Hugh Laurie, John de Lancie
and some of the older chaps that I just can't stop loving: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Sam Waterston
For the ladies, I think Renee Russo, Sharon Stone & Sigourney Weaver would make awesome additions to this story


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