There’s something curiously old-fashioned about Jason Statham as a movie star. He rarely, if ever, toplines tentpoles or mega-hits, plenty of his films tank badly, and he basically plays the same role every time. But he knocks out two, three, even four movies a year, bringing in a steady, reliable audience, and that’s more than most movie stars can say in this day and age. The Stath is heading for a particularly busy year with “Safe,” “The Expendables 2” and “Parker” all on the way, but he’s just signed on for a new project, one that sees him working with a pair of Hollywood greats who haven’t been heard of much lately.
Deadline report from the market in Berlin that Statham will star in a remake of “Heat,” the mostly forgotten 1986 action-thriller that starred Burt Reynolds as an ex-mercenary who now works as a bodyguard in Las Vegas, who teaches a meek man (Peter MacNicol in the original) to be tough, while seeking out revenge on a mobster who abused his escort friend. The film will again be written by long-absent screenwriting great William Goldman (“All The President’s Men,” “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid“), who adapted his own novel for the Reynolds film, and will return here, for his first film since 2003’s “Dreamcatcher.”
And the biggest news is that the man who’s set to direct is none other than filmmaking great Brian DePalma, who hasn’t made a film since 2007’s “Redacted” (and honestly, we try to pretend that that and “The Black Dahlia,” which came out the year before, never happened). The director’s meant to be making the erotic thriller “Passion,” with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, itself a remake of French thriller “Love Crime,” starting next month, but the plan is for him to follow it up swiftly with this project, which is intended to get underway in France by the end of the year (presumably the setting’s been moved to Monte Carlo, or something similar).
We can’t say the original has a great reputation (and we assume a title change might be in the cards, given the associations with the Michael Mann film of the same name), but we couldn’t be bigger fans of Goldman, and hopefully he’s worked how to crack what he couldn’t get right last time. And while it seems like the kind of part that Statham’s done many, many times before, adding De Palma into the mix means this is something that we’re going to follow pretty closely. Assuming all goes well (Sierra/Affinity are currently handling pre-sales in Berlin), we should see this in theaters by the end of 2013. Two DePalma movies in a year? Hot damn.