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John Hawkes & Mos Def To Star In Prequel To ‘Jackie Brown’ Playing A Young De Niro & Samuel L. Jackson

John Hawkes & Mos Def To Star In Prequel To 'Jackie Brown' Playing A Young De Niro & Samuel L. Jackson

Here’s your big, “wow,” or “huh” of the day, depending on your thoughts on prequels of fairly beloved films. Winter’s Bone and “Martha Marcy May Marlene” star John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (aka rapper turned actor Mos Def) are going to be starring in a “Jackie Brown” prequel playing the younger versions of Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson‘s characters respectively.

Before you get too excited, no, Quentin Tarantino doesn’t have anything to do with this. Writer/director Dan Schechter (“Supporting Characters“), will be helming based on an adaptation of Elmore Leonard‘s  “The Switch” (Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown” was based off of Leonard’s “Rum Punch“).

Set 15 years before the events of “Rum Punch,” an Amazon synopsis of “The Switch” describes the book as this:  “Ordell Robbie (Sam Jackson’s character in the original film) and Louis Gara (De Niro’s) hit it off in prison, where they were both doing time for grand theft auto. Now that they’re out, they’re joining forces for one big score. The plan is to kidnap the wife of a wealthy Detroit developer and hold her for ransom. But they didn’t figure the lowlife husband wouldn’t want his lady back. So it’s time for Plan B and the opportunity to make a real killing — with the unlikely help of a beautiful, ticked-off housewife who’s hungry for a large helping of sweet revenge.”

According to Variety, Schecter adapted the novel on spec without Leonard’s permission — a huge risk. But so impressed was the author and his longtime rep, they granted the young filmmaker the rights. They’ve even come on board as producers.

This prequel to “Jackie Brown” was announced in 2010 and clearly the producers came through with their intentions. Heresy or jubilation? Discuss.  [Variety]

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Max Nomad

This sounds like a remake of "Ruthless People" starring Bette Midler, Danny DeVito and Judge Reinhold – just swap out Reinhold and Slater for Mos Def and John Hawkes and add a prison backstory.


The Switch isn't a "prequel", it was released in 1978 and Rum Punch was released in 1992. Leonard's characters inhabit a shared universe so they may get mentioned in one book, a major character in another, and appear in a one scene in another with years lapsing between them that age the characters accordingly.

Without Tarantino or the Weinstein's involvement, I find it hard to believe that this is a legit prequel and the word is only being tossed around in trade announcements because their association with the characters from Jackie Brown. Or because they can't grasp a literary conceit of using characters more than once and it not being a prequel or a sequel.

I do find it odd that The Switch is using the character's names since I assume that Jackie Brown's studio has the rights to them. On a recent episode of the Elmore Leonard-based Justified on FX, the producers had to give Carla Gugino's Karen Sisco (from Out of Sight & ABC's Karen Sisco show) a new married last name because the character still belongs to ABC.


A crime story where we know the 2 main characters survive all the way through seems to set the stakes a little low doesnt it?


I love the switch, really fun short Leonard book. The Characters are really different from the two who appear in Jackie Brown (I haven't read Rum Punch) but if my memory serves me The switch is a tight little story with nice subtle pay off, this could be really good if Mos doesn't do one of his voices. I think QT wanted to make The Switch all those years before and settled for Rum Punch when he couldn't get the rights.


Hawkes is almost the same age De Niro was when he made Jackie Brown. I mean he does look younger but it still seems like odd casting.


I'd swear it sounds so familiar to that 1986 film starring Bette Midler -Ruthless People.


Many years ago when the "old one" showed, the characters assumed not that much "older" than the coming "prequel", but anyway look forward to watching John Hawke, and not bad Mos Def. ;p


I'd rather see Tarantino's Vega brothers prequel. Oh well.

Stephen B

Even though there have been some bad ones, any Leonard adaptation is worth getting excited about.

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