Director Simon West Discusses The Mechanic, His Next Project Medallion, and the Possibility of Con Air 2
Posted 01.26.11 by Ryan
Director Simon West's last move was 2006's When a Stranger Calls, a remake of the 1979 horror classic. West is dipping into the 1970's again with his latest movie, The Mechanic, which is a remake of a 1972 action movie that starred Charles Bronson as a hitman who takes on an apprentice (Jan-Michael Vincent).
Fans of the original movie probably find a remake to be sacrosanct, but West told CraveOnline that his version was based entirely on the original's screenplay after producer Irwin Winkler brought West on board the project.
He sent me the original script, which I hadn't realized that they'd been developing for 17 years and had hundreds of versions of. They ended up rejecting them all and sending me the original 1972 [Lewis John] Carlino script. It was written on a typewriter and all that and that's the one that we based it on. It was literally going into production in two or three months and I had this 1972 very dated script. We brought in Richard Wenk, who wrote 16 Blocks — I love that script — and he had eight weeks. We sat together and completely updated it, using the structure. The same characters and the same general things happen, but we reinvented everything to be modern in kind of a classic way.
West replaced Bronson and Vincent with Jason Statham and Ben Foster, respectively. Statham was attached "right at the beginning" and then Foster was brought in after an exhaustive casting search yielded no one and West wondered if he could get Foster. The Mechanic is heading for a January 28 release date, after which West plans a reunion with his Con Air star Nicolas Cage.
I'm about to start a film with Nic Cage called Medallion. It's a bank robber film. He's a bank robber who just gets out of jail. His ex-partner, who everyone thinks is dead, is working as a cab driver and kidnaps Nic's daughter and throws her in the trunk of a cab because he thinks that Nic's character still has 10 million from an old job, even though he doesn't. Because he doesn't, he has to go and rob a bank, which he said he was going to give up. So he has to rob one more bank to get the money to pay the ransom. Mayhem ensues.
After Medallion, West wouldn't mind yet another reunion with Cage in Con Air 2.
Con Air 2, I'd like to do. It'd be great. It's a matter of getting everybody together. There's so many people involved and it's about getting everybody to agree. But I'm going to bring it up to Nic. I'm going to put a bug in his ear about it. If the two of us want to do it, we'll go after the others.