A follow-up to director David Cronenberg's excellent gangster flick Eastern Promises is going into production, with action hero and The Meg star Jason Statham being eyed to lead the project. The sequel is currently titled Small Dark Look with Danish filmmaker Martin Zandvliet, who was nominated for an Oscar for his historical war drama Land of Mine, is now on board to direct.
Released back in 2007, Eastern Promises tells a story of a Russian-British midwife named Anna, who delivers the baby of a drug-addicted 14-year-old Russian prostitute who dies in childbirth. After Anna learns that the teen was forced into prostitution by the Russian Mafia in London, the leader of the Russian gangsters threatens the baby's life to keep Anna from telling the police about their villainous dealings. As Anna tries to protect the baby, she is enmeshed deeper into the criminal underworld, and is threatened by the Mafia leader's son and warned off by the son's strong-arm man, Nikolai, who may well be more than he appears.
Starring The Lord of Rings' Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai alongside Naomi Watts, Vincent Cassel, Sinéad Cusack and Armin Mueller-Stahl, Eastern Promises is an intensely violent climbdown into the criminal underbelly and boasts one of Mortensen's most daring performances. Talk of a sequel began soon after the first movie was released, with Vincent Cassel claiming that Eastern Promises 2 would film in Russia with himself and Mortensen returning. Sadly, this never came to fruition, and in 2013 Cronenberg stated that the sequel was "dead," saying "We were supposed to start shooting 'Eastern Promises 2' in October ... [But] It's done. If you don't like it talk to James Schamus at Focus. It was his decision."
According to reports, Small Dark Look will not be a direct continuation of the events of Eastern Promises but will instead be a different story set in the same Russian mob-ridden world. Screenwriter Steven Knight, who wrote the first Eastern Promises, as well as the critically acclaimed series Peaky Blinders has written the script for the Statham-starring follow-up. Statham has worked from a Knight script in the past, in the 2013 thriller Redemption (also known as Hummingbird, in which the gruff-voiced, high-kicking actor played a damaged ex-special forces soldier navigating London's criminal underworld. Currently, it does not look like Eastern Promises director David Cronenberg will be involved.
While Jason Statham has yet to sign on, his involvement either suggests that Small Dark Look will be a lot more action-packed than its predecessor, or that the actor will try to showcase his more nuanced acting talents as demonstrated sporadically in Steven Knight's Redemption. Statham has a pretty full up docket for 2021, including a sequel to monster hit The Meg to be directed by Ben Wheatley, a possible sequel to Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw alongside Dwayne Johnson, and a reunion with Snatch director Guy Ritchie for a currently untitled spy thriller that recently signed on Parks and Rec alumni Aubrey Plaza.
Are you excited to once again enter the world of Eastern Promises with Statham by your side? This comes to us courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.