Consider for a moment sequels to David Cronenberg movies that were made without David Cronenberg: The Fly II. Scanners II. Scanners III. Scanner Cop. Scanner Cop II. They just don’t recapture the magic all that well. And when Cronenberg is involved, like when he approached Fox to revisit The Fly – well, those movies flat-out don’t happen.
So I guess the question here is which of those two categories does Body Cross, a proposed sequel to Eastern Promises that allegedly starts shooting this spring, fall under? If it’s a Cronenberg-less sequel, I guess the director’s 2007 existential mob movie is as fully-realized a world as any to revisit without him. Screenwriter Steven Knight is no slouch and the plot, described thusly by casting database My Entertainment World, is probably a notch or two above Scanner Cop II:
Picking up where the 2007 film left off with the incompetent underboss Kirill (Vincent Cassel) thinking that he and his henchman driver Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) really have inherited the throne from his crime-lord father, without knowing that Nikolai is actually a clandestine agent working undercover in Russia’s federal security service.
The Playlist filled in this news with some details Cronenberg gave them back in 2012.
“…One of the things I wanted in the first movie was that you see a bunch of Russians in London but you never see them in Russia. In other words you experience their exile and they are trying to recreate some of Russia within London…in the original screenplay there were some scenes in Russia and I thought it was better if we don’t see that – they long for Russia but we never see that.”
Cronenberg also told The Playlist in 2012 that Knight’s script was “lovely,” but too expensive for Focus Features, hence the plug-pulling, and he added “as far as I’m concerned I’m not involved anymore.” Well, that sucks. Could things have changed in the past five years? If Cronenberg isn’t part of the deal, I’m not sure what value this project has – unless, of course, Knight is taking over the directorial duties himself (his helming of Locke was nothing less than masterful). Moreover, it’s been ten years since the original; are we looking at a recast of Mortensen and Cassel? That might be a bigger deal-breaker than a Cronenberg defecit.
One wants to be excited for this project, but there’s also a high risk of a Carlito’s Way: Rise To Power-type situation here.