Lorenzo di Bonaventura is one of the few producers who participates in press junkets, and lucky for us-- the guy is behind any number of giant hits from the last few years, from Transformers to Salt to G.I. Joe, and of course all of these movies and more are eyeing sequels. At yesterday's junket for RED I had an excellent 30-minute conversation with di Bonaventura about all kinds of things, from the challenges of bringing together a cast as large as RED's to the future of comic book movies to how to make killer action sequences on a tiny budget. It was a great conversation, all on video, and I'll be posting it soon, but in the meantime here's two tiny updates on projects he has in the works.
First I asked him about Moscow, the Chris Pine-starring reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise based on Tom Clancy's spy novels. We learned a few weeks ago that they had hired Anthony Peckham to tweak the screenplay, and I asked him if that would change the production schedule and how much might change from the plot we heard about back in April, which involved a fresh-from-the-Marines Ryan getting caught up in a financial scandal in Russia. Here's what di Bonaventura had to say:
We're going to shoot in the spring. There's no set date. It's a slow process of figuring out how much it's going to cost and all that stuff. [It's] the same story-- [Peckham] is going to bring his own particular flair to it. It is the origin story of Jack Ryan. Where you pick him up in his career is very true to what Clancy had as his backstory. You can explore some of the backstory you never had in previous movie. That will be fun for Clancy fan, and for an audience that hasn't seen [the previous films], or seen them all in theaters. Chris Pine is going to make a great Jack Ryan. We really lucked out there.
Asked specifically about what I described as the "Russian finance" plot, di Bonaventura responded, "There will be elements of that. We're trying to keep it simple. We want the character to breathe, to not be so overwhelmed by the plot."
I also had to ask him about Salt 2, since I was a big fan of the slightly crazy Angelina Jolie spy thriller, and when I did interviews for that film in July everyone involved said how happy they would be to make a sequel if the box office turned out. Now that Salt has made $117 domestically with an additional $166 million overseas, I asked di Bonaventura how sequel talk was coming along. He admitted there hasn't been a whole lot of talk, but was optimistic about it happening some day:
There's been some small amounts of talk about it. It's a really cool character. It's like no other real character we've seen in that genre. Bond and Bourne live in pretty black and white worlds, and Salt lives in a gray world.
Did you catch that brief mention of a possible RED sequel at the end there? Following up on what he suggested back at Comic Con, di Bonaventura said a RED sequel would be possible if the box office is good. He admitted it would be hard to get the giant cast back together again, but said the "fun part" is wondering "who else could join this merry band?" So while we might not get another movie featuring the dream team of Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and Mary-Louise Parker all together, they might be able to add a few more names to the cast and make RED 2 even more ridiculous and fun than the original.