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The film industry is currently in a state where it seems that no movie is too old to get a sequel. What we have for you today, however, is a special case. Thirty-four years after the release of the original movie was released, it seems that filmmakers are now getting interested in crafting a follow-up to the story told in Chariots of Fire... and it's resulting in two different sequels going through development. Interestingly, the main difference between the two in-the-works features is that one of them is playing up the lead character's Christianity.
The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop on the competing projects that will follow the events of Eric Liddell's life after what was previously seen in director Hugh Hudson's 1981 film. The two films are titled Absolute Surrender and The Last Race, with the former being the one that focuses more on Liddell's religion and relationship with god. Both are still making their way through the production stages, and we can presume the race is on to try and get to theaters first.
Absolute Surrender is being based on a screenplay written by Eric Eichinger and Howard Klausner, and will follow Eric Liddell as he follows in his parents' footsteps to become a Christian missionary in China. Unfortunately, aggression from the Japanese in 1941 made the country very dangerous to live in, and while Liddell's pregnant wife and family were able to safely escape to Canada, Liddell wasn't so lucky. He wound up being forced into an internment camp. and that's where he died.
The Last Race is expected to portray the same events, but there will be minimal focus on Eric Liddell's faith - largely because of where the movie is moving through development. The movie is largely a Chinese production, and the country's communist government has been promoting atheism for years. Hong Kong director Stephen Shin is both writing the script and helming the movie with Canadian filmmaker Michael Parker, and the movie is filming in both Britain and China. Unlike Absolute Surrender, which doesn't even have a director lined up just yet, The Last Race has Shakespeare In Love star Joseph Fiennes playing the lead role in the movie.
It's interesting that there are two competing sequels being made for Chariots of Fire, but it's also not exactly rare for dueling projects to develop like this. It was only a few years ago that Capote and Infamous were both telling the big screen story of Truman Capote, and even more recent than that was the fairy tale battle between Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror. It's worth noting that both of these cases saw only one title find tremendous success, with the other being largely forgotten. We'll wait and see what history has to say about Absolute Surrender and The Last Race.