Paul Haggis, the mastermind/monster behind Crash and the equally earnest In the Valley of Elah, is apparently repurposing himself as an action director. Coming up in a few weeks he's got The Next Three Days, in which Russell Crowe learns how to use a gun and busts his wife out of prison, and now Deadline reports he's considering a remake of the Spanish thriller Celda 211, which swept their Oscar-equivalent Goya Awards last year.

CBS Films is acquiring the rights to the film, and Haggis is planning to adapt the screenplay and probably direct in addition to producing through his Hwy 61 Films. The movie, like The Next Three Days, involves a prison escape as a key plot point; the main character is a newly hired prison guard on a tour of the facility the day before his first day on the job when a prison riot breaks out. Knocked unconscious during the initial scuffle, the guard must pretend to be a fellow prisoner and survive while finding a way to break himself out.

I'm hearing pretty good things about The Next Three Days, which appears to be a pretty straightforward thriller and not at all in the vein of Crash, so if Haggis can keep the up with the promising story at the center of Celda 211, we might have something to look forward to here. I've been as hard as anyone on Haggis for the many, many crimes of Crash, but you've got to admire a guy willing to change things up and re-examine his strengths as a director. The world is full of enough Crash knockoffs, so God bless Haggis for not adding on with another one.

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