There are plenty of reasons to read Stuart Jeffries’s Dennis Hopper profile for The Guardian, and "Oh Don Piano" news on a potential third installment in the dry-docked Speed franchise is not one of them. But here we are anyway, floating the possibility of a follow-up to the infamously unwatchable Speed 2: Cruise Control just because the counterculture-nutjob-turned-Bush-backing-Republican spewed forth the possibility for his own amusement, or, more likely, a shot at an easy nine-figure studio payday.
As per Jeffries: "[Hopper] certainly isn’t in the mood to discuss any of the half a dozen films he is due to appear in this year, a roster which is due to include a performance in Speed 3, even though I have plenty of questions about that. Surely his character Howard Payne died in a decapitation incident in the last reel of Speed 1? ‘It’s a river of shit,’ he tells me pleasantly but firmly, ‘from which I have tried to extract some gold.’"
Assuming Jeffries didn’t broach the subject of Speed 3 (which is akin to screaming Ishtar 2 in a crowded Sony boardroom), this is a fabulous example of the very rare "Sol-Oh Don Piano": a feat of shameless, unsolicited self-promotion intended to hasten the re-ignition of a long dormant franchise for one’s financial gain. Might Fox duce Tom Rothman be devious enough to revive the Speed brand despite its having literally run aground ten years ago? Probably not. Unless, of course, we’re talking remake, in which case I could certainly see Speed getting a spectacularly unnecessary reboot; this is, after all, the same studio that reshot David Seltzer’s screenplay for The Omen just to capitalize on a scary release date. This would at least sidestep the dilemma of resurrecting Hopper’s exceptionally dead character from the first film. Since Fox is almost fresh out of viable franchises at present, this is probably more possible than any of us would like to imagine.
And, yet, as far as unpleasant images go, it’s still nothing compared to Michelle Phillips divorcing Hopper on the grounds of "unnatural sexual demands".