David Cronenberg’s brilliant and brutal crime-thriller, Eastern Promises, is set for a sequel despite the director claiming back in 2012 that no such follow-up would be. The script for the new film is currently listed under the working title ‘Body Cross’, having reportedly been completed two years ago by writer and director Steven Knight, whose credits include the BBC series Peaky Blinders and Taboo, as well as the first Eastern Promises. With filming scheduled to begin in London in March, it now seems that Knight will finally be bringing the project to life.
Little is known about the plot, but a short synopsis posted on casting database site suggests that we can look forward to more of the same: “Picking up where the 2007 film left off with the incompetent underboss Kirill thinking that he and his henchman driver Nikolai really have inherited the throne from his crime-lord father, without knowing that Nikolai is actually a clandestine agent working undercover in Russia’s federal security service.”
The original, starring Naomi Watts, Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai and Vincent Cassel as the sleazy and petulant Kirill, is one of our all-time favourite Cronenberg films. Complete with the director’s trademark visceral intensity, it draws the viewer in to the depraved masculine underworld of the London Russian mob, which makes the Sopranos look almost saintly by comparison. Mortensen in particular is astonishing, his performance perhaps best remembered for the staggeringly bloody bathhouse fight in which his character is ambushed by Chechen assassins.
There’s been no confirmation as to whether or not Cronenberg will be involved in this sequel in some way. But having made his directorial debut with the impressively taut 2013 thriller Locke, we can safely assume that the film is safe in Knight’s hands. He’s certainly appears confident that Eastern Promises 2 will more than live up to the original – in a 2014 interview with Indiewire Knight teased, “the script for the second is much better than the first.” We can’t wait.
Published 17 Jan 2017
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