John McTiernan Directing Red Squad

It's time for a comeback

It's a full decade since Die Hard and Predator director John McTiernan has had a film in production. Protracted legal shenanigans and a twelve-month jail sentence stemming from the Anthony Pellicano wire-tapping scandal enforced his disappearance from the Hollywood radar. But with all that finally behind him, he's about to make his comeback. Variety reports that McTiernan has signed up to helm the action thriller Red Squad. Production company Hannibal Classics (along with Patriot Pictures) is putting up the money, and Hannibal's Cam Cannon wrote the screenplay and will produce.

If you don't know the details and wondered where he'd gone, McTiernan was basically collateral damage in the Anthony Pellicano affair. Pellicano was a private investigator and expert in "forensic surveillance", much used in Hollywood circles, particularly in divorce settlements and the like. A chance discovery by the FBI discovered years worth of illegal phone-tapping, and Pellicano was prosecuted for recording the conversations of people in litigation, in order to provide unfair advantage to a particular side in a case.

There was never any suggestion that any of the huge list of big names with whom Pellicano crossed paths were in any way complicit in his dodgy schemes, but McTiernan's foolish mistake was to fib to the FBI. He hired Pellicano while in a dispute with producer Charles Roven during the production of Rollerball in 2000, but denied having done so when the FBI asked him about it. In a saga peripheral to the main Pellicano case, he was charged and sentenced for lying to a federal officer.

Red Squad, per the synopsis we have so far, involves a former DEA agent who went rogue and now runs a team of mercenaries. Their latest mission takes them to Mexico, where they've been hired to "neutralise" a drug lord.

A pretty generic action scenario then, but McTiernan has worked magic on similar material in the past. Immediately prior to his unfortunate career hiatus, he'd seemed off his game, with the uninspiring Rollerball and Basic, and the troubled and compromised The Thirteenth Warrior. Fingers crossed that Red Squad is a return to form as well as a return to film. Shooting is set to begin almost immediately on McTiernan's release from prison in April.