EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is picking up steam on Midnight Run 2, setting scribes David Elliot & Paul Lovett to rewrite it, and negotiating with Brett Ratner to helm a sequel that has Robert De Niro attached to reprise his role as bounty hunter Jack Walsh. De Niro and Jane Rosenthal’s Tribeca is producing with Ratner’s Rat Entertainment.
The studio and Tribeca put the wheels in motion on the sequel early last year, when they hired Tim Dowling to write a draft. Elliot & Lovett, who were writers on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and are working on the sequel to Four Brothers (which they also scripted) will continue the storyline of Walsh, the ex-Chicago cop who, when last seen, set free the turncoat mob accountant The Duke at LAX and walked away with a wad of cash he’d use to open a coffee shop. When news broke about the sequel on the 1988 Martin Brest-directed George Gallo-scripted mismatched buddy classic, there was a lot of reaction, particularly since there was no word on whether Charles Grodin would be part of the film package.
I spoke to Grodin last year and he said that while he hasn’t really been moved to return to acting (among other pursuits, he spends his time as a volunteer advocate for poor, first-time offenders hit with impossible prison sentences because of mandatory sentencing laws.) While Grodin usually turns down jobs that keep him from sleeping in his own bed at night, he said he’s open to participating in this one if it comes up. Ratner certainly had luck with the rough and tumble buddy action comedy formula with the Rush Hour series. He last directed Tower Heist for Universal and Ratner’s also working on MGM’s Hercules: The Thracian Wars, and courting Dwayne Johnson to play the title role. The scribes are repped by Verve and Principato-Young.