EXCLUSIVE: John Woo and Universal Pictures are teaming on a new version of his 1989 Hong King crime classic The Killer. It is intended as a star vehicle for Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o. She is negotiating to play the assassin, a role originated by Chow Yun-fat. The studio has the film on a fast track, with Woo directing.
Eran Creevy (Collide) rewrote the script based on an original draft by Cloverfield Lane‘s Josh Campbell and Matt Stuecken, and Brian Helgeland is being brought on to do a production pass. Producing alongside Woo and his A Better Tomorrow Films is eOne’s Mark Gordon and Lori Tilkin. Matt Jackson, Lori Tilkin and Luc Etienne are exec producing with Terence Chang. eOne’s Josh Clay Phillips will also have a producing role and is overseeing the project with Tilkin. The aim is to begin production later this year in France and Germany.
Nyong’o won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years A Slave, followed with two Star Wars films, and she just co-starred in Black Panther. In The Killer, she will play the assassin who puts her own life on the line to save a woman whom she accidentally blinded in her last hit.
The film is a touchstone picture, one widely emulated for its balletic, stylized violent scenes. The redo will blend espionage with extraordinary stunts to capture the feel of the original. Universal VP Production Sara Scott will oversee for the studio.
Nyong’o is repped by CAA and Del, Shaw, Moonves. Woo is repped by ICM Partners’ Spencer Baumgarten and Hansen Jacobson. Helgeland is with CAA and Jackoway Tyerman, Creevy with CAA and 42, and Campbell & Stuecken are UTA and Madhouse.