De Niro for Midnight Run 2!

Update! The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Robert De Niro is indeed starring in and producing a sequel to “Midnight Run”. The new script, which will team Jack Walsh (De Niro) with a younger comedic foil, will be written by “Role Models” scribe Timothy Dowling. No word on whether Charles Grodin, Joe Pantoliano or John Ashton will cameo as of yet.

Here’s the Original Story..

I assume everyone reading the site has not only seen, but counts Martin Brest’s “Midnight Run” as one of their favourite movies. I know I do – it’s right up there, belong-side Billy Friedkin’s “French Connection”, Coppola’s first two “Godfather” flicks, and – don’t chortle! –“Endless Love” (We all have that one guilty pleasure in our tower, right!?).

When I saw it at the theater in 1998 (in fact, I was working – as an usher – the night I saw it; believe only 3 or 4 people were at the screening, so as was the case with films with low-attendance, I got to watch the whole thing) I enjoyed it – a lot, but honestly, I never thought I’d become one of my favourite films. And I assuming a lot of people felt the same way. I guess it’s because cinemagoers imagined we’d be seeing thousands and thousands for films over the coming years that would be just as good, if not better. Thing is, that’s not exactly what happened. Instead, quality seem to take a backseat to quantity at the end of the Reagan-era, and instead of seeing more, original, imaginative pieces like “Midnight Run” – we’d start seeing a swarm of sequels, feature film adaptations of old TV series, and, as is the case in 2010, so many film remakes it’s driving most critics to drink. Films like “Midnight Run” seem to have disappeared along with VHS.

Speaking of, I remember watching “Midnight Run” many times on VHS (Picked it up for about $30, if my memory’s correct, a year or so after it hit stores) – and it was one of a few films I’d always bring with me on holidays (the others? likely “Mad Max”, “Caddyshack”, the “Back to the Future” films, and “Stakeout”). It’s an old reliable. Something I can guarantee will raise a smile… and a goosebump… and make me believe in the movies again.

Written by George Gallo , “Run” told of a Bounty hunter, Jack Walsh (De Niro) who is sent to find and return bail jumper and former Mafia accountant, Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Grodin). The FBI have had no success it locating The Duke, so when Jack finds him in next to no time, they are a little embarrassed. In order to collect his $100,000 fee, Jack must take The Duke from New York to Los Angeles. Easier said than done.

Aside from the superb De Niro and Grodin (one of the best on-screen duo’s since Lemmon and Matthau in “The Odd Couple”), the supporting cast included the always-dependable John Ashton (reuniting with “Beverly Hills Cop” director Brest) as gruff, manipulative bounty hunter Marvin Dorfler, Yaphet ‘it’s all in the eyes’ Kotto as FBI Agent Alonzo Mosely, gangster-film vet Dennis Farina as Jimmy Serrano, Joe Pantoliano as Jack’s employer, bail bondsman Eddie Moscone.

They never did do a theatrical sequel – quite surprisingly (even though it never did big business at the country cinema I worked at, it did well in the metropolitan multiplexes; more so, it became even more popular once it hit VHS – likely due to good word-of-mouth) to “Midnight Run”, probably because Robert De Niro didn’t need to be doing sequels back then, but they did do a couple of straight-to-video telemovies. Starring Christopher McDonald (then best known as Geena Davis’s scumbag husband in “Thelma & Louise”), “Another Midnight Run”, ‘’Midnight Runaround’’ and ‘’Midnight Run for Your Life’’ were more or less bearable time-passers that kept your attention, if only because they featured characters from the beloved 1988 movie (McDonald was Jack, Dan Hedaya was bail bondsman Ernie, Ed O’Ross was Dorfler). Still, pretty average they were.

But whaddyaknow? All these years later, De Niro’s said to be circling a big-screen sequel. Buried in a news item at Deadline Hollywood Daily (which also states that De Niro’s attached to play Governor George Wallace in Lee Daniels’ “Selma”) is a note that De Niro is“mid-development on another Midnight Run”.

It ain’t much to go on, but we’ll have to make do for now. Considering they’re developing it, not to mention De Niro’s fruitful relationship with Universal Pictures, it’ll likely come to fruition.

Here’s hoping Marty Brest’s involved in some capacity… and of course they bring back Joey Pants, Yaphet Kotto, and – if it makes sense – Charles Grodin.