UPDATE, 4:36 PM PST: Got some clarity on Adam Wingard’s plans for Face/Off. He is approaching the film as a sequel to the original hit film, as opposed to a remake as I had been told when I broke the story. But I believe the leads will be re-cast.
EARLIER EXCLUSIVE, 12:38 PM PST: Paramount Pictures has chosen You’re Next and Godzilla Vs. Kong director Adam Wingard to helm its re-imagining of Face/Off, the 1997 John Woo-directed action thriller that starred John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. Wingard will write the script with his scripting partner Simon Barrett and the studio will reboot the film, with new cast. Neal Moritz will produce and David Permut will be executive producer.
Oren Uziel had been part of the equation when Paramount set up the remake last fall, but the understanding is Wingard and Barrett are starting from scratch. Despite a fairly preposterous-sounding premise, the original film was a wild ride that became the top grossing U.S. film of its Hong Kong director John Woo as it did $246 million in global ticket sales. It is easy to imagine this taking shape as a two-hander with a couple of strong male or female stars.
In the original, Travolta played FBI agent Sean Archer. He is so obsessed with catching a homicidal sociopath named Castor Troy, who is responsible for killing the fed’s son, that the agent undergoes facial transplant surgery and takes the mug of his nemesis so he can be sent to prison to find out a bomb’s whereabouts and stop an attack. The plan goes awry when the bad guy wakes up and takes the face of the FBI agent. Soon, the new-faced Castor visits the agent with the villainous face and takes glee in taunting him, telling him that the face surgeons have been killed, that the good guy is stuck looking in the mirror at the face he hates most, and that the villain is going home to bed his wife and take over his home life. It escalates into a series of choreographed action sequences. Mike Werb and Michael Colleary wrote the original.
Barrett is repped by Novo and Morris Yorn; CAA and Grandview rep Wingard, whose Godzilla Vs. Kong for Warner Bros and Legendary is slated to bow in theaters and on HBO Max on March 31.