Never underestimate the fickle oddity of Hollywood. Two years ago, Bruce Willis was deeply involved in adapting Carsten Stroud’s novel Black Water Transit. A cheery tale of prison, smack, gun running and shipping, it might not have been a new Striking Distance, but it’s easy to see how Bruce might have made something out of a double-crossed dad’s attempt to help his imprisoned son and while shrugging off a federal frame for gun-running.
And soon enough you’ll be able to see some version of the story. The film has finally started rolling…but if you snuck on to the set looking to harangue John McClaine with a little ‘Yippi Ki Yay Mo’ you’d find only Laurenece Fishburne. Also in the new cast are Brittany Snow and my ultimate, like totally favorite Native American Viking, Karl Urban. What about Sam ‘My Rubber Stamp Says Yes’ Jackson, who was once in the cast list? Nah, he’s gone too.
The film was once planned as a playground for music video director Samuel Bayer, one of those guys who’s done a clip for every current pop/rock flavor of the moment, from Hole to Green Day to My Chemical Romance. But he also shot clips for Bowie and The Afghan Whigs, which counts for something.
It doesn’t count for enough, however, because Tony Kaye is now calling the shots, from Matthew Chapman’s screenplay. Not exactly known as an ‘actors director’…or anyone else’s director but his own, Kaye is famous for trying to get his way*. That led to conflicts with Ed Norton, New Line and seemingly everyone else on American History X. Did that get blown out of proportion? Perhaps, but other stories have surfaced from his work in commercial/PSA/music video land, so we’ll see what Transit holds.
I’ll go with ‘cautiously optimistic’ on this one. It’s an interesting road for both Fishburne and Kaye, who (reputation aside) has made more of a name lately with his anti-abortion documentary Lake of Fire than he ever had for American History X.
*Kaye has actually said, "to be
honest with you, I consider myself the greatest
craftsman/director/imagemaker on this planet and I defy anyone to try and
create film like me when I’m allowed to work in a way that suits my style
and my personality." (Link here)