In a world where Robert De Niro increasingly shares more screen time with 50 Cent than any other actor throughout his career, the idea that a “Raging Bull” sequel is lensing now in Los Angeles is sadly not too shocking. However, cause for alarm clearly shows when neither de Niro nor Martin Scorsese offers their involvement, and based on the first look at writer/director Martin Guigui's continuation of boxer Jake LaMotta's story, any fears may prove to be more than justified.
Besides boasting a flatly lit, rather drab aesthetic, revealing “Raging Bull II” will eschew Scorsese's stark B&W look, the two stills also give a hint as to the world LaMotta will inhabit in the new prequel/sequel. Following LaMotta from his youth (played by newcomer Mojean Aria), and then jumping forward to ages 34 to 73 (William Forsythe), the film's cast also includes Joe Mantegna, Natasha Henstridge, Penelope Ann Miller, and Tom Sizemore. Asked recently about the uproar against tackling the story again, Forsythe replied, “I understand that because it's such an iconic, beautiful and amazing first film — one of the great films maybe of all time. But our story has a lot more heart and I think it's a beautiful depiction of who Jake really is.”
Both Forsythe and Guigui have had extensive conversations with the real Jake LaMotta, who is currently 90 years old and, as with Scorsese's film, will act as consultant on its sequel. For Guigui, that initial encounter was the deciding factor in making the film. “My first reaction when I was offered it was 'No, this is sacred ground,' ” he said. “Then I read the book, 'Raging Bull II,' and then I met Jake. When I met Jake that sealed the deal.”
Fittingly, perhaps the most revealing quote comes for LaMotta himself, when asked about his reaction to the new film's existence. “I'd never have believed it in a million years. But they think it's interesting enough to do it. They must know something.” And perhaps Guigui & co. do, but they're certainly showing no evidence of it quite yet. And that goes double for the soundtrack, as Shyan Selah (!?) was just hired to write a song for the movie.