Most action-movie fanatics consider John Woo’s 1997 thriller Face/Off to be a stone-cold classic. Hallowed ground in the action genre, even. Remaking it would be criminal, and extending the franchise flirts with being questionable. Why mess with over-the-top perfection, no matter how solid your take on the material seems to be. When The Guest and Blair Witch director Adam Wingard revealed that he’d be writing and directing a Face/Off sequel that he’s co-writing with Simon Barrett, purists panicked.
Wingard quickly calmed the waters of discontent by proving how much he cares about the source material as he continues to explain the duo’s approach. In fact, during a recent appearance on CinemaBlend’s own ReelBlend podcast, Wingard was asked how they planned to get past the fact that Nicholas Cage’s villain, Castor Troy, appeared to die at the end of Face/Off. And Wingard noted to us:
Isn’t it weird, whenever you look at the end of that film, where… you know the part where John Travolta takes the ring off of Castor Troy? You remember that part? They’re in the ambulance together. Well, did you notice that Castor Troy has a bandage -- that the medic has bandaged his wound? Just take another look at that scene.
He’s right. Castor Troy (in John Travolta’s body… because Face/Off) does have bandages where his fatal wounds would be. Does this mean that the medic swooped in quick enough to prevent Castor from bleeding out? This seems to be what Adam Wingard is suggesting to us. Here, watch the scene for yourself:
Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett clearly are approaching this sequel as die-hard fans of the original movie. When pressed on the film’s concept, Wingard told ReelBlend:
I don’t want to give anything away, because it’s still early. But to me it’s like, I’ve heard people talking about, ‘What does he mean when he says it’s a sequel? He must just mean it’s a sequel in the Face/Off universe. Using the surgery, maybe it’s peripheral.’ To me, Face/Off is not about the surgery. It’s not about the world. It’s about Sean Archer and Castor Troy. These characters are what Face/Off is. Without them, you don’t have Face/Off. To me, that’s what the film is about. I won’t say anything about what that really means, but that’s the direction we are going in. It’s about the characters.
And he talked about his previous films, from the Blair Witch sequel that he delivered to his live-action take on the popular Manga Death Note, as vital experiences that helped him fully understand how fans feel about cherished properties. Wingard, when opening up about Blair Witch, told ReelBlend:
At the end of the day, I know why it didn’t connect with audiences the way that it should have. And so that was a lesson I learned. I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the last few years in terms of how to approach IP material. … With all of those lessons going forward, I think it really helps Simon and I know what to do when we have been writing Face/Off, and how to appropriately do it.
Adam Wingard is quick to note that his Face/Off script needs approval from both Nic Cage and John Travolta before it moves forward. But given his work on the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong, and the way that he passionately speaks about Face/Off, I’ve gone from skeptical to hopeful. Let's see where this story goes.