Black Water Transit is rapidly turning into a bit of a train wreck. Originally in music video director Samuel Bayer’s hands, the film made some news earlier this year when it became a vehicle for director Tony Kaye, who has largely been invisible on the directing landscape since his behind the scenes squabbling with Edward Norton in American History X. Since the directorial change not much else has been mentioned. Now, with filming set to begin this week, it appears the entire cast of the movie has changed.
Originally the movie starred Bruce Willis. To say “starred” is a bit of an understatement. According to Variety, this project was developed specifically for and by Bruce, along with producer Arnold Rifkin. Apparently when Bayer moved on, so did Willis, and Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson had been considered as a replacement. Diesel I get, after all, the guy is about as close to young Bruno as you can get. Jackson… not so easy to picture unless some script changes were made. Jackson just has a different pattern to his speech than Bruce. Lines that worked for the Die Hard star wouldn’t necessarily work for the Die Hard With A Vengeance co-star.
With filming starting this week, the cast has finally been announced. The replacement for Bruce Willis is… Laurence Fishburne.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Bruce Willis and I absolutely adore Laurence Fishburne, but the two aren’t exactly playing the same type of characters. To stereotype a bit, Bruce is who you go to when you want a tormented flippant, sarcastic son of a bitch. For Fishburne you’re talking about a dispenser of wisdom and insight – a big live-action Yoda if you will. You can’t just plop Fishburne in a role developed specifically for Willis and hope everything goes okay.
The movie also co-stars Brittany Snow and Karl Urban. While it seems odd to see Urban’s name last, there’s a part of me hoping that he’s actually the Willis replacement and Fishburne is getting the attention because he’s the headlining name. Urban would fit in that Willis sized hole a lot easier than Fishburne.
According to Variety, the basic premise of the movie is about a shipping company owner who is trying to get his junkie son freed from prison. I hope that’s a very cut down version of the story’s plot, otherwise I can’t see a single one of these names appearing in this movie. Here’s hoping Kaye can get along with his cast and this thing doesn’t head straight to video in the end.