Remaking Jean-Pierre Melville seems like a suspect enterprise at best, even when the proposed perpetrator is someone like Johnnie To. One of the premier crime stylists in Hong Kong, To has recently made films that are pretty damn good (Exiled, Election and Triad Election) and some interesting misses (Breaking News, Mad Detective) and continues to be one of the only Hong Kong directors currently worthy of persistent attention.
But remaking Le Cercle Rouge, one of Melville’s last films, is a big step. I’m sure it’s enticing as hell — that long capper of a heist scene is rivaled only by the heist sequence in Dassin’s Rififi — but casting any role originally played by Alain Delon is a monumental task. And when your go-to guy is Orlando Bloom…Mr. To, some things just don’t make sense. Like the ending of Unbreakable, and marrying without a prenup. And this.
The Hollywood Reporter says an offer has gone out to Bloom, but there are no official talks yet. Chow-Yun Fat is in negotiations to co-star, and Empire mentions that Liam Neeson is the mix as well. That’s the most exciting news so far. The film is shooting in Hong Kong and Macau, so who would Neeson play if he signs on? Vogel, the escaped murderer, or Jansen, the shooter? Perhaps even the former mob boss of Orlando Bloom’s character? This is fan casting I can enjoy for a minute. And will the film be in English, or a mix of English and Cantonese?
Oh, who am I kidding? Even if Bloom is cast, I’ll be first in line just out of curiosity.
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