Finally, distribution news for a project we’ve been tracking since August 2011, when it was first announced, which I wasn’t certain we’d ever see, despite all the recognizable talent involved.
Whitaker teams up with the Oscar-nominated filmmaker in what was said to be the first film in a trilogy of English-language films for the director, that will explore the complex relationship between the west and the Arab world.
“The questions I’m asking in my movies here in America are ‘Where are we?’ and ‘Where are we going?’ and ‘Why do we need to have hope in this relationship?'” said the director of “Hors la Loi” (“Outside the Law”), his most recent work, and “London River” before that (both films covered on S&A).
“Two Men in Town” made its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival – the Berlinale – a year ago, with what was a third title change.
Initially called “Bill’s Law,” it’s based on a 1973 French psychological drama titled “Deux Hommes Dans La Ville” (“Two Men In Town”) by Jose Giovanni. That story centers on an ex-safe cracker, just out of prison, who finds honest work and a new love, and who wants to go on the straight and narrow; but attempts by his ex-gang to lure him back into his former life, as well as the the determination of a vengeful cop who stalks him, nearly push him over the edge.
Director Bouchareb has transferred the action and drama from 1970s France, to present-day USA, to a small town in the Southwest, near the Mexican border, touching on American anti-Arab paranoia. In the film, Whitaker plays a Muslim released from prison into a small town in the Southwest USA, that’s seething with anti-Muslim sentiment.
It was later re-titled “Enemy Way,” and was changed once again to “La voie de l‘ennemi,” which translates in English as “Towards The Enemy.”
Finally, at its Berlinale world premiere, it apparently settled on “Two Men in Town,” which is the name of the original novel on which the film is based (back to the source, after all that song and dance!). Although in France, where it was released last May, it’s titled “La voie de l‘ennemi” (“Towards The Enemy”).
All that said…
Joining Whitaker in the reported $20 million film, are actors Harvey Keitel (a vengeful police officer on Whitaker’s tail), Brenda Blethyn, Ellen Burstyn and Luis Guzman.
I actually expected it to premiere at Cannes 2014, with hopes for a 2015 Academy Award nomination (obviously it didn’t happen), which won’t be the first for the director, Rachid Bouchareb, whose last film, “Outside The Law” was among the final five films nominated in the foreign-language category of the 2011 Oscars.
Jean Brehat (who produced Bouchareb’s “Outside the Law”) is producer on “Two Men in Town,” along with Allen Bain (“Just Like a Woman”).
The production employed at least 70 New Mexico crew members and 300 principal and background talent.
Below is the film’s USA release trailer, which debuted just this afternoon. I’d say that there’s definitely enough here to entice: