Neil Marshall Turns Professional

Centurion director targets TV classic

With swords and savagery epic Centurion in cinemas today, Neil Marshall is wasting no time picking a new project.

In addition to the Sam Raimi-produced 3D splatter pic Burst, he’s attached to a feature adaptation of classic Brit TV series The Professionals.

“It’s going to be a hard-hitting action movie,” says Marshall, “I always loved the show. It has one of the greatest theme tunes ever and a really great central premise. I just thought: this is going to make a great movie.”

The ’70s series saw professional (natch) tough guys Bodie (Lewis Collins) and Doyle (Martin Shaw) busting crime and terror at home and abroad for law enforcement outfit CI5.

“They deal with anti-terrorism, assassinations, political intrigue,” says Marshall. “The slogan, or kind of the tagline for the film, is ‘Fight fire with fire’ and that was their whole thing... Primarily it’s going to be an exciting movie, but there’s an inherent political angle on the story.”

We can’t tell you any plot details, or we’d have to kill you. Suffice to say Marshall has some exciting ideas. “We want to contemporise it but keep everything that made the original great [but sadly not Lewis Collins], just turn it into a real wham-bam rip-roaring adventure movie. And a really great buddy movie: these guys are like Butch and Sundance or Riggs and Murtaugh. But this is a British buddy movie, which I don’t think I’ve seen before...”

With a writer currently working on the script, don’t expect casting news for a while, but who do you think would make a good Bodie and Doyle? Let the rampant speculation commence.