TAKEN and LAYER CAKE are going to strong arm your TV

3 min read
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TV adaptations of movies have a reputation for being dismal, especially when stuff like Timecop and The Transporter clutter our perceptions. But it’s actually not a bad formula – and one that has been getting better. Recent arrivals like Fargo, Bates Motel, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the admittedly short-lived Hannibal has galvanised television as a good prospect for taking your franchise in a new direction.

The spin-off train continues: yesterday Trevor reported that The Mist is going to be adapted into a show. The list has since expanded with Layer Cake and Taken.

First, Layer Cake: some of you might remember the entertaining crime caper released in 2004 and starring Daniel Craig before he became known as Bond. It was a fun movie, apparently based on a fun book. Jason Statham was recommended to read it, which he liked so much that Statham optioned the rights for the sequel book, Viva La Madness. That eventually transformed into a  project – but everyone assumed he was looking at making a movie.

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Not so: Statham has revealed he wants it to be a TV series – the reason being that writer J.J.Connolly is just too damn good:

The way J.J. writes is so on the ball and authentic its hard to let any of it go. Trying to lose characters or shave down scenes every other page didn’t work, we wanted it all. The best place was a 10 hour plus show that lets you fully disappear into Connolly’s world.

Statham will produce and star, while Connolly is adapting his book into episodes. I don’t have more to add, other than I really want to watch this.

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At the same time Taken is also headed for TV. Ever wondered how Bryan Mills got that particular set of skills? We’ll find out: Taken director and producer Luc Besson has signed a deal with NBC to create a prequel. Here is the breakdown:

Bryan Mills, the character played by Neeson in the movies, is a young man with no wife and kids. The series will focus on how Mills acquires his “very particular set of skills” and becomes the character we all know. The series will bend time as it will be set in modern day, not decades in the past.

First off, we should admit that several of Besson’s movies have translated into TV shows. But the results vary – for example, the Transporter series appears to be utter rubbish. I only watched the first episode, but felt the action sequences were being ruined by quick cuts and constantly moving cameras. Sadly it appears the new Transporter movie thought this is a good thing, thus eternally ruining that franchise for me.

The absence of Neeson will also be testing, but perhaps not a deal breaker. I also don’t think Besson has quite ruined Taken – the third film is quite fun and way ahead of the disappointing first sequel.

My biggest concern? Goddamn NBC, the network that couldn’t even keep Constantine going. Taken should be edgy, but NBC is about as hardcore as a knitting club. That may prove to be Taken‘s undoing. After all, if Mills can’t enforce his skills explicitly, what’s the point of watching?

Last Updated: September 18, 2015

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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