Legendary Hong Kongese director John Woo, 76, will direct a reimagining of his iconic 1989 thriller “The Killer.”
The film will be one of three to be featured on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform in 2023. Other projects include “Shooting Stars,” about basketball legend LeBron James’ early years, and “Praise This,” about a church choir changing its sound, starring R&B artist Chloe Bailey.
The original film, starring Chow Yun-fat, Danny Lee, Sally Yeh and Kenneth Tsang, tells the story of seasoned assassin Ah Jong, who plans to retire after one last hit job.
During a shootout, Ah Jong accidentally blinds a nightclub singer named Jennie. Feeling guilty, he watches over her and eventually develops a romantic relationship with her, becoming determined to get her the corneal transplant she desperately needs to keep what remains of her vision.
Woo, often deemed the “godfather” of the modern action genre, has popularized several styles, including slow-motion fights and stand-offs between characters.
He is also known for his signature gun scenes in which characters shoot multiple guns at once, shot from multiple angles to produce an even more tense and gripping experience.
Some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, have cited Woo as influential to their own directorial works.
A remake of “The Killer” was first rumored in 2018, with “Black Panther” actor Lupita Nyong’o attached as the lead in a gender-swapped version produced by Universal; however, in 2019, Woo shared that Nyong’o was no longer on the project due to a scheduling conflict.
“There was a scheduling problem because she’s so popular right now!” said Woo. “We rewrote the script and it took so much time…she had to leave for another project.”
Woo has directed other notable works such as “Face/Off” (1997), starring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage, and “Mission Impossible II” (2000), starring Tom Cruise. He is best known for his Chinese productions, including “A Better Tomorrow” (1986) and “Hard-Boiled” (1992).
His upcoming film “Silent Night,” for which a release date has yet to be announced, will be Woo’s first Hollywood film in over 20 years.