Focus Films Reneges on EASTERN PROMISES 2

     August 14, 2012

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As recently as June, we posted that David Cronenberg was returning to direct Eastern Promises 2, starring Viggo Mortensen and possibly Vincent Cassel.  While things looked to be moving ahead in a positive direction only a short while ago, the production has taken a turn for the worse (or better if you weren’t looking forward to the sequel).  Apparently, the decision has come down from the Focus Features studio to scrap the project, even though production was scheduled to begin in October.  Hit the jump to hear the explanation on the about face from Cronenberg himself. 

eastern-promises-2-david_cronenberg_viggo_mortensenIn a recent interview with The Playlist for Cronenberg’s film Cosmopolis, starring Robert Pattinson, Cronenberg made the following comments on the state of Eastern Promises 2 when asked about his upcoming films:

“It was supposed to be ‘Eastern Promises 2.’ But that’s dead.  We were supposed to start shooting ‘Eastern Promises 2‘ in October.  [But] It’s done… If you don’t like it talk to James Schamus at Focus. It was his decision.”

This makes the second Cronenberg sequel in recent memory that was shut down by a studio, the previous one being a follow up to The Fly, which Fox passed on.   For those of you who missed Eastern Promises, here’s a look at the synopsis and trailer:

The mysterious and charismatic Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin (Mortensen) is a driver for one of London’s most notorious organized crime families of Eastern European origin. The family itself is part of the Vory V Zakone criminal brotherhood. Headed by Semyon (Academy Award nominee Armin Mueller-Stahl), whose courtly charm as the welcoming proprietor of the plush Trans-Siberian restaurant impeccably masks a cold and brutal core, the family’s fortunes are tested by Semyon’s volatile son and enforcer, Kirill (Vincent Cassel), who is more tightly bound to Nikolai than to his own father.

But Nikolai’s carefully maintained existence is jarred once he crosses paths at Christmastime with Anna Khitrova (Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts), a midwife at a North London hospital. Anna is deeply affected by the desperate situation of a young teenager who dies while giving birth to a baby. Anna resolves to try to trace the baby’s lineage and relatives. The girl’s personal diary also survives her; it is written in Russian, and Anna seeks answers in it.

Anna’s mother Helen (Sinead Cusack) does not discourage her, but Anna’s irascible Russian-born uncle Stepan (Jerzy Skolimowski) urges caution. He is right to do so; by delving into the diary, Anna has accidentally unleashed the full fury of the Vory.

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