…. only under a different title. With a different lead character. And no Jean Reno.
Olivier Megaton, director of “Colombiana”, says the film’s producer had originally intended for the Rosario Dawson-starrer to be a sequel to the 1994 classic “Leon the Proffesional”.
Luc Besson, who directed the hitman thriller starring Natalie Portman and Jean Reno, had been trying to get a follow-up off-the-ground for many years; Megaton says Besson ultimately decided to rework the script and turn it into an original piece.
Speaking to The Playlist, Megaton explained the decision to bury Mathilda and give life to Colombiana.
“Ten years ago we decided to make ‘Mathilda,’ which was the ‘Professional’ sequel, but we couldn’t do it because of the evolution of a lot of things – about Natalie [Portman], about [estranged distributor] Gaumont,” Megaton revealed. “Luc tried to do this movie again and again—he proposed it to me 12 years ago. But when we decided to change the script and to make another movie with a revenge story like ‘Mathilda,’ he had to give up everything about Mathilda.”
There is one sequel in Megaton and Besson’s future though, “Taken 2″ with Liam Neeson reprising his role as the dad-you-dont-fuck-with.
“‘Taken’ is a really difficult project because it was a big surprise for everybody,” he observed. “When the movie was released in France [in February 2008], it didn’t work, and one year after in the U.S., it made a huge success. It was the same movie. So when you’re making ‘Taken 2,’ you have to think about all of this – why it worked, and how did this movie work in the U.S.”
“As everybody is waiting for the minimum, we have to be more clever,” he said. “So Liam is going to be there like he was, but even better. But it’s a little tricky because Liam already did ‘Taken 2’ with ‘Unknown,’ even if it’s not the same story. It’s not far from the same kind of thing, with a secret agent; they took everything and tried to make this movie with it. But whatever.”
The filmmaker hinted that Maggie Grace’s character – Neeson’s daughter; the lass kidnapped in the original film – might have more in common with her kick-ass father this time ’round.
“The story is not the story you’re waiting for, because it’s totally different. Maggie [Grace] has a huge, huge part in this movie, and then that was the really interesting thing….The real challenge was to make her like Zoe in ‘Colombiana’,” he said. “I don’t want to be the specialist of girl action heroes, but that is the real point of me taking ‘Taken 2’.”
“Liam will be all throughout the movie like he is – the same bad ass – and maybe a little more human. But Maggie will exist, because she was not really existing in the first one. She was the victim, so we were tracking her. But really she will be there in this one.”
What would guys rather see, a “Leon” sequel or a “Taken” sequel?