Posted on Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Angie Han
So, that Americanized version of Pierre Morel’s French thriller District 13 we reported on back in 2009 is still happening, and it may have just found one of its stars. Paul Walker has entered negotiations to join the cast of the remake, which will be titled Brick Mansions and relocated to a city in the States (probably Chicago).
But the news isn’t all bad! Also on board is David Belle, who starred in the original and its sequel but will be playing a different character here. Plus, the script comes from Luc Besson, who co-wrote the original, and Robert Mark Kamen, who collaborated with Besson on Taken. More details after the jump.
Brick Mansions will revolve around an undercover detective (Walker) going after a drug dealer who’s stolen a weapon of mass destruction. He heads to a ghetto known as Brick Mansions to find the criminal, enlisting the help of the fearless and flexible Lino (Belle).
According to Deadline, several Hollywood actors were eyeing the part of Lino, but Besson ultimately turned them down because he did not want to make the film without Belle. The actor and stuntman is also the founder of parkour, a style of movement that emphasizes the use of agility and speed to get around urban obstacles. As Deadline helpfully notes, “There is a lot of that in these films.” Besson also selected the director, who is said to be a protégé of his. However, Besson’s EuropaCorp has declined to reveal the identity of said helmer at this time.
Morel’s 2004 original (titled Banlieue 13 in French) was a critical and commercial hit in its native country, and gained worldwide attention for its use of parkour. The sequel, District 13: Ultimatum (or Banlieue 13 Ultimatum in French) was released in 2009, with director Patrick Alessandrin.
If Walker finalizes his deal, he’ll do the part before heading to reprise his role as Brian O’Conner for Fast Six. As the next two installments of the Fast and the Furious franchise are likely to shoot back to back through much of 2012, Brick Mansions will presumably begin filming late this year or early next year. Walker also recently signed on for the Hurricane Katrina thriller Hours, which is scheduled to start shooting in March.
Here’s a trailer from the original District 13: