By Drew Taylor | The Playlist May 20, 2013 at 1:15PM
While the sequel to "Red," the 2010 action comedy that starred Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman as over-the-hill assassins, doesn't open until the middle of July, Lionsgate and producers Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian are already plotting a third film, with screenwriting siblings Jon and Erich Hoeber back for a third go-around (according to the Hollywood Reporter). "Thank god!" said nobody.
"Red" was based on the comic book miniseries by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner (although without much of the book's wit and explosive bursts of violence), the title standing for "retired extreme dangerous," and in its original film version, directed by Robert Schwentke, with a fair amount of visual flair. The end product of that film felt slightly watered down, with a number of concessions made to meet the seemingly impossible release date, like losing the distinctly funky music by Irish DJ and frequent Steven Soderbergh collaborator David Holmes for the anonymous music by Christophe Beck. (To put things in perspective, it started filming at the end of January 2010 and came out in October of that same year.)
The sequel, also written by the Hoeber brothers, is being directed by "Galaxy Quest" director Dean Parisot and features a number of strong additions to the supporting cast, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Brian Cox, David Thewlis, Neal McDonough and Lee Byung-hun, which leaves us a little optimistic. According to the report in The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate is itching to have a franchise take the spot vacated by the "Twilight" franchise. But for old people. The studio seems to be happy with the sequel, which has gotten high test scores, moving it up several weeks from its original August 2nd release date to a more competitive spot on July 19th. Though if the film is crushed by its summer competition, expect sequel talks to dissipate swiftly...