'Eastern Promises' Sequel Moves Forward With Vincent Cassel Joining Viggo Mortensen, David Cronenberg Will Direct

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by Oliver Lyttelton
June 8, 2012 12:24 PM
10 Comments
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Update: Vulture has corrected their report and David Cronenberg will indeed direct the film, not Steven Knight.

Over the last five years or so, reports have kept cropping up of a relatively unlikely sequel: a follow-up to 2007's gangster thriller "Eastern Promises," which was directed by David Cronenberg, and starred Viggo Mortensen as a heavily tattooed low-level Russian mobster who helps a nurse (Naomi Watts) protect a baby targeted by the criminals, including his near-psychotic pal (Vincent Cassel). Given that the film had a slightly-too-neat twist whereby it was revealed that Mortensen's character was actually an undercover FSB agent, it was certainly set up for a follow-up, and recently, both Cronenberg and his star have both said that there's a script that they like, and that they were keen to make the film.

Well, the good news is, it seems to be moving forward: Vulture report that Vincent Cassel is now in negotations to reprise his role as Kirill, the mobster's son who has now inherited the business from his father, and runs it together with Nikolai (Mortensen). The bad news is that with Cronenberg seemingly gearing up to make "The Map To The Stars" with his "Cosmopolis" star Robert Pattinson, the director seems to have bowed out of helming the picture, with Steven Knight, the writer of the script for both the original and the sequel, taking his place.

Knight, whose other credits include "Dirty Pretty Things," recently wrapped his directorial debut, "Hummingbird," starring Jason Statham, in London, and clearly Focus Features executives have heard the same promising reports about it that we have, as they've given him the director's chair on the project. There's no word if Naomi Watts would return, but given how extraneous she was to the first film, we imagine it's a long shot. It's a shame that Cronenberg won't be back for the second film -- it could risk being a rather more traditional crime thriller without him -- but we certainly would rather see him tackle something like 'Map Of The Stars.' The only slight concern is what this means for Mortensen's involvement in that project; the director told us in Cannes that he was hoping his frequent collaborator would take a role. 

All being well, "Eastern Promises 2: Tokyo Drift," or whatever they end up calling it, will shoot early next year, once Mortensen wraps on "Drive" writer Hossein Amini's adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's "The Two Faces Of January," which seems to be his next project, so we'll likely see the sequel at the end of 2013 or start of 2014.

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10 Comments

  • iou | June 8, 2012 5:32 PMReply

    I don't know why people are complaining. If someone hadn't told me Eastern Promises was directed by an "auteur" I would've never known. It was generic as hell.

  • RNL | June 8, 2012 3:12 PMReply

    Also, note that Vulture have updated their article and it now says Cronenberg will direct.

    Pretty disappointing, imo. I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel, but I think Cronenberg is too unusual and unique a filmmaker to be making films as relatively ordinary as Eastern Promises.

  • RNL | June 8, 2012 4:06 PM

    How does difficulty getting Maps to the Stars made imply that the logical thing to do is make a sequel to Eastern Promises? He could make something more interesting instead. As She Climbed Across the Table, for instance. Making a sequel to Eastern Promises may indeed be the path of least resistance, but if that's the path Cronenberg is suddenly inclined to take, then that sort of speaks for itself.

  • D | June 8, 2012 3:17 PM

    Eastern Promises' Rotten Tomatoes score is 89%; higher than anything he's done since. He's been trying to get Maps made for 5 years with no dice. It's a no-brainer.

  • RNL | June 8, 2012 3:03 PMReply

    It's "Maps to the Stars", not "Map of the Stars". I presume it's a reference to the selling of maps to celebrities' homes, hotspots, etc.

  • Harley Quinn | June 8, 2012 2:30 PMReply

    I am really looking forward to this, but without Cronenberg... it just won't be the same :(

  • abc | June 8, 2012 1:22 PMReply

    What Pete said. Map will never get made. Guarantee it.

  • Pete | June 8, 2012 1:03 PMReply

    Are you kidding me? Map of the Stars is nowhere near being funded but Eastern Promises, one of Cronenberg's biggest hits, could easily get investors. I call bull on this news.

  • PapushiSun | June 8, 2012 12:46 PMReply

    How promising can Hummingbird be if it stars Jason Statham? And I like Statham's films.

  • AS | June 8, 2012 12:33 PMReply

    No Cronenberg, no dice.

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