Posted on Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
Mediacorp scriptmeister Robert Mark Kamen has been telling the Los Angeles Times all about his next assignments for the big French action factory, and both of the films they namedrop are seemingly inevitable responses to the studio’s past glories.
Besides a sequel to Taken, the sleeper hit of the year (so far), Kamen is also crafting the screenplay for a US set rehash of Banlieue 13 – or District B13 as it was already renamed in English speaking territories. The original took an American paradigm – Escape From New York, essentially – and gave it such a specifically French spin that, frankly, I don’t know what sort of mess we’ll end up with after it gets spun back the other way.
Kamen’s interview reveals no more about these two projects, but does go into great detail about his relationship with Luc Besson, his co-conspirator in some of the very best, if occasionally rather politically distressing, actioners of recent years.
Luc thinks up about eight film ideas every day. Some are great, some are horrible. He sees all these images in his head, so when we sit down, I’ll say, ‘I like this one’ and we lie around the house — or the hotel room — and he dreams up these amazing images and I try to bring some structure to the story while we think up the characters and who they are and what they do–their arc, so to speak. Then I go away and write.
I assume the upcoming Besson-produced From Paris With Love was one of the 8 daily ideas that Kamen found more horrible than great as he hasn’t taken a credit on that one and Adi Hasak has scripted with Besson.
Apparently, Besson and Kamen have given each other the nicknames of Shrek and Donkey as they are, respectively, portly and chatty. They don’t mind these labels, but some other nicknames might stick in the craw somewhat: the LA Times ask if Besson would like to be called “The French Joel Silver,” which Kamen swats back amusingly -
Of course, he’d be insulted — wouldn’t anybody? Even my dog would be insulted if you called him the dog version of Joel Silver.
Taken is still on cinema release in the US, but widely available on DVD in many other territories. It comes fully recommended as a witty, yet still silly, mix of slam-bang and blah-blah that hits some truly cute action beats along the way; Banlieue 13 can be had on DVD for bargain prices around the globe and really shouldn’t be missed by anyone who likes their combat and chase scenes to play out like a showing off competition between gravity defying B-Boys with tops made out of rubber and bottoms made out of springs.