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John Woo still looking to remake Le Samourai and... The Killer?

Buried in this Variety profile of director John Woo is this revelation: Woo is looking to “line up A-list talent” to star in English-language remakes of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samourai and Woo’s own 1989 breakthrough The Killer. That Woo wants to put his own, slow-motion-dove spin on Le Samourai isn’t all that surprising—he’s long spoken of Melville as a huge influence, and he’s openly talked about his desire to remake it. But the idea that Woo would even think about rehashing The Killer (which was itself very nearly a remake of Le Samourai) is certainly unexpected: American directors from Walter Hill to (most recently) John H. Lee have tried to get their versions off the ground to no avail, and given its enduring popularity, it seems particularly unnecessary for Woo to make it all over again.

Of course, it’s also possible that Variety misheard him, and that Woo was really talking about his long-in-the-planning remake of Sam Peckinpah’s The Killer Elite, which he’s been discussing since at least 2001. (This definitely seems more logical.) In any case, Woo probably won’t get to either of these projects for a while: He’s got the IMAX-bound World War II drama Flying Tigers up next, a “pair of martial-arts sagas” that pay tribute to Chang Chen, King Hu, and Akira Kurosawa, and then there’s also his lifelong dream of directing a musical, which nearly came to pass when Woo was in negotiations to helm the big-screen adaptation of The Phantom Of The Opera. It’s just too bad he narrowly missed out on this.


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