Hard to believe that over the course of their red meat-eatin’ action careers, Sylvester Stallone and Walter Hill never crossed paths. Hill has directed the likes of Eddie Murphy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and the immortal James Remar, but not once has he been associated with the headstrong star of “Rocky,” “Rambo” and “The Expendables.” That may change as Hill may be climbing aboard “Headshots,” the action picture starring Stallone which was left orphaned after director Wayne Kramer exited over creative differences.
Stallone himself has recruited the director, who remains in negotiations, though it’s clear he has a lot of admiration for the director of classics like “The Warriors” and “48 Hrs.” “I completely respect Walter’s incredible body of work and hopefully this legendary director will become attached to the project,” says Stallone, who notably won’t be directing either this or his next picture, “The Expendables 2.” Worth noting that on his last directorial effort, “The Expendables,” Stallone quite literally broke his neck while attempting to write, direct and star in the action spectacular.
As for Kramer, Stallone makes his exit seem reasonable. “Initially, Mr. Kramer was hired to direct a dark comedy; however his vision was much darker and exceptionally more violent than how the project was originally conceived,” says Stallone. “It was decided that it would be better for everyone to move on and consequently Mr. Kramer was dismissed by producers earlier this week. There were no volatile clashes, it was simply a professional parting of the ways.” This is the first we’re hearing about this project being comedic in nature, which spooks us a bit, since Stallone and comedy go together as well as Hi-C and turkey. No surprise, however, that Kramer’s approach seemed humorless, as we have little taste for his lurid filmmaking.
Hill, who was once on the directorial A-List for every hot action property, has been scarce lately. His greatest recent triumphs have been on the small screen, helping develop the miniseries “Broken Trail” and HBO’s peerless “Deadwood.” While his last big-screen offering was “Undisputed” (the rare film to earn the dubious distinction of being weaker than its own direct-to-DVD sequels), he was attached to the hitman drama “St. Vincent,” which attracted talent like Mickey Rourke, Pierce Brosnan, Billy Bob Thornton and Maria Bello during its long development. We’re rooting for Hill, if only to wash the taste out of our mouths of Hill being rejected as a director for “Punisher: War Zone.” However, hold on to your cowboys hats for now — according to financiers IM Global, Hill is only one name among a mix of contenders. [Deadline]