To fans rejoice! THE RED CIRCLE is still happening

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To fans rejoice! THE RED CIRCLE is still happening

A few months ago, Liam Neeson suggested in an AICN interview that Johnnie To's remake of Jean-Pierre Melville's legendary LE CIRCLE ROUGE was effectively dead in the water. This was of course a sad moment for a lot of us, because I count myself among the people who believe that if there is anyone even capable of remaking Melville - or rather, the only one who should be allowed to touch the source material - it's To. However, there was never an official confirmation of the cancellation, and quite the opposite - subtle signs pointed to the fact that the remake was still in development.

Well, an interview with To conducted by The Hollywood Reporter today confirmed that yes, THE RED CIRCLE is still in development after all. It's just taking a lot of time, it seems. Or, in the words of To himself:

THR: Early preparations started on "Red Circle" and then stopped. Is the picture ever going to happen?

To: It needs time. I'm not satisfied with the script and if I'm not satisfied nobody else is going to be. But it is absolutely one of my priorities as you can see (points to the wall where script notes are plastered.) "Death of a Hostage," which is a Hong Kong production through Media Asia, is probably what I'll shoot next. Then, hopefully, "Red Circle."

This leads me to believe that it's possible Neeson and co. jumped ship simply because To wasn't going anywhere yet soon. But if you look at it from another perspective - it's good that To is being so extremely perfectionist about it, because that's what a Melville remake deserves. Additionally, there is one more reason to be happy about THE RED CIRCLE's messy and difficult birth: In the Cannes presskit for VENGEANCE - which you can grab here - producer Michele Halberstat hints at the fact that VENGEANCE would never have seen the light of the day if it wasn't for THE RED CIRCLE's production delays. Two sides to every coin.

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Read the full interview with Johnnie To here

jack burton jr.May 16, 2009 12:45 AM

to is such the man even his bad movies are better then most film makers good ones

conbarbaMay 16, 2009 3:04 AM

I am usually against remakes, but I allow To to remake all he wants, even Apocalypse Now or Ordet.

Grady HendrixMay 16, 2009 6:10 AM

If you're a Lau Ching-wan fan you may want to book at ticket to New York soon...

ChevalierAguilaMay 16, 2009 6:49 AM

"I’m not satisfied with the script and if I’m not satisfied nobody else is going to be"

Now that's a hardcore director right there.

El DuderinoMay 16, 2009 9:34 AM

That's great news!

cpa314May 17, 2009 1:10 PM

Milkyway- Definitely!! You cant go wrong with Johnnie To and Lau Ching Wan together. I wonder though, whatever happened to that Water Margin thing he was doing with Andrew Lau. I was actually very interested in that project because of two things... the massive proposed budget which would surpass Red Cliff's budget and the fact that two talented directors in Andrew Lau and Johnnie To would be helming the films. Plus, I really wanted to see what To's take on a period martial arts piece would be like. We all know he can do HK gangster films in his sleep but this would be something new for him. I would love to see what he can to do to reinvent and renew the period martial arts genre.

El DuderinoMay 17, 2009 5:38 PM

Oh, btw, got just word of Vengeance. Apparently it's awful. Just style and nothing else. :(
Waiting for Todd's review.

MilkywayMay 17, 2009 6:55 PM

[quote]Well, actually To did period martial arts before.
The Enigmatic Case and The Bare-Footed Kid. 2 classics.[/quote]

Yeah but those were the pre-Milkyway days. Seeing To do other types of movies with the style he possesses now has yet to be seen.

TimoMay 17, 2009 7:35 PM

El Duderino: Where did you hear that? Both the Variety and the Hollywood Reporter review are pretty positive, though not breathlessly enthusiastic.

El DuderinoMay 17, 2009 11:13 PM

Milkyway: That's absolutley true. Since the beginning of Milkyway he did almost everything (from gangtser to comedy) except a classic MA movie.
Not that there were made that many since the turnover ...