2007’s Eastern Promises is an incredible crime thriller, and not only because of the… erm… ballsiness of having Viggo Mortensen engaging in a brutal nude fistfight in a bathhouse. Directed by David Cronenberg off a script from Steven Knight, the film saw Mortensen (giving arguably the best performance of his career) as Nikolai, the driver/enforcer of a Russian mob boss who sees his star rise in the crime family when he has to clean up a mess involving the mob boss’ incompetent son, Kiril (Vincent Cassell), and a sex trafficking ring in London. Oh and he’s also… well that would be a big SPOILER and you should really watch the movie!
While it was a box office bomb on release, it drew rave reviews across the board. As such, it came as great news in 2010 that a sequel was in development, picking up with Nikolai and Kiril as the latter stands on the verge of inheriting his father’s criminal empire. However, in 2013, after Knight had already finished a script, Cronenberg would suddenly reveal that the production was dead, seemingly due to some unreconcilable disagreements between production companies Shoebox Films and Focus Features. And that’s where things remained for the next seven years.
However, Collider is reporting that Focus Features is now dusting off Knight’s old script again. Titled Small Dark Look (though it reportedly also went by the title Body Cross for a while), the upcoming crime thriller will no longer be an Eastern Promises sequel, but a standalone effort potentially starring Jason Statham. The British actor hasn’t officially signed on yet, but he’s seemingly been circling the role for over a year and it’s just a matter of time before it’s official.
While Knight’s script is being used, Cronenberg won’t be back. Instead, Danish director Martin Zandvliet (Land of Mine) will be helming the production. It’s uncertain just how much of Knight’s script will remain intact, though the film will reportedly still involve the Russian mob and be set in London. Statham is perfect for the role of a tough guy mob enforcer (which he actually played in Knight’s directing debut Hummingbird), but he’s not exactly known for his transformative character acting skills. As such I’m expecting some tweaks to the original Russian-heavy outline.
As to when Small Dark Look will happen, don’t expect it soon. The issue is Statham’s availability. The British bruiser just wrapped production on frequent collaborator Guy Ritchie’s new heist film Wrath of Man and already has sequels to The Meg, Spy, and Hobbs & Shaw lined up, as well as another still-untitled thriller with Ritchie. Focus is reportedly willing to wait for a gap in Statham’s schedule. As for the rest of us, we’ve already waited a decade, so what’s a bit more?
Last Updated: December 9, 2020