Following XIII and the recent Nikita series, Luc Besson's Europacorp is looking to take more of its properties onto the small screen, with The Transporter next in line. A significant, though as-yet-unnamed US TV channel is apparently already on board, and the word on the street is that Taken is also likely to get an episodic makeover at some point.
The three Transporter movies to date star Jason Statham as Frank Martin (he also has a little cameo in Collateral), the driver who'll deliver anything, anywhere, for anyone, and get the job done, even if it involves wrestling in oil or being stuck on the road with Natalya Rudakova.
The budget for the initial twelve-part series is estimated at $48m. Compare that to a budget of $41m for Transporter 3 alone, and it's clear that the series will have to operate on a smaller scale. At their best though, the movies have operated on inventiveness and wit rather than spectacle, so if the TV version keeps to that ethos, money shouldn't be an issue. It's hard to imagine the series without The Stath, but we can see how a kind of package-of-the-week formula could work. Or better yet, 24-like, Frank could take on one job per season.
Taken, on the other hand, we can imagine being something like a more action-oriented Without a Trace, although that one's currently only on the drawing board, and won't move forward at least until after Taken 2, which Deadline are saying will shoot with Liam Neeson next spring.
The Transporter series gets moving early next year, and should be delivered in November. Europacorp never change the deal, and never make a promise they can't keep. As for Statham's replacement, no names yet. Any suggestions?