Risky Biz Blog is reporting that Training Day director, Antoine Fuqua, is in negotiations to helm Prisoners, (no longer “The Prisoners”) a film taken from a “hot spec script” written by Aaron Guzikowski. The script was said to have created a stir when it first appeared earlier this year, with high-profile actors Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg once attached to star, X-Men helmer Bryan Singer eyeing the director’s chair and a number of different studios looking to pick up the project.
However, soon after the producers of Prisoners sold the film to Alcon, reconfigured the project to have a lower budget (around the $30-40 million mark) and went forward without a cast for the time being, so that they could get things in motion faster. And it appears that the approach is working; the film is on the fast-track, and may go into pre-production shortly, with a “likely” January or February shooting start next year.
From Risky Biz Blog, we learn that Prisoners is a, “dark tale [that] centers on a small-town man who, after his daughter and her friend are kidnapped and the cops fail to solve the crime, takes matters into his own hands, holding hostage the person he suspects committed the crime. He also comes into conflict with the big-city detective assigned to the case.”
Risky Biz Blog says that the project has drawn comparisons to other “hit thrillers” that involve distraught and grieving parents, such as the Liam Neeson thriller Taken, and Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River. Like those mentioned two movies, I wouldn’t be surprised if Prisoners ends up getting at least a couple of well known, high-profile actors to replace Bale and Wahlberg (at least we still have those two together in The Fighter…).
Training Day - Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in Fuqua's award-winning Traning Day
I’ve enjoyed a few of Fuqua’s previous films, particularly Training Day, which featured a fantastic, Oscar-winning performance from Denzel Washington, and a well played, Oscar-nominated supporting performance from Ethan Hawke. Fuqua’s other films include the mildly entertaining but completely forgettable Shooter (isn’t it ironic that Fuqua is coming on-board after Wahlberg, the star of Shooter, has left?) and the underrated Tears of the Sun, starring Bruce Willis.
Fuqua certainly wouldn’t be my first choice of director to replace Singer, but I’m just glad the project seems to be heading into production fairly soon. It sounds like a good idea for a revenge film - I particularly like the aspect where the father/main character takes the suspected kidnapper hostage (I’m going to guess right now that he takes the wrong man hostage. Just a guess…). I just hope it delivers on the potential of its premise and doesn’t descend into cliched fare as a lot of these revenge thrillers often do.
What do you think about Training Day director Antoine Fuqua being in talks to direct Prisoners? We’ve already known for a few months that Bale and Wahlberg aren’t going to be starring in it, but who would you like to see play the parts instead?
As stated, Prisoners is aimed to start pre-production soon and will likely start shooting in January or February, 2010. It is supposed to be released sometime next October.