Stallone Headshot By Walter Hill

Wayne Kramer's loss is Hill's gain

Stallone Headshot By Walter Hill

by Owen Williams |
Published on

It's the story of an old gunslinger lured out of retirement for one more mission. No, that's not the plot of Stallone's next film, but the news that Stallone has persuaded none other than action godfather Walter Hill to call the shots on Warners' **Headshot, based on the French comics by Alexis Nolent.

It was only a couple of months ago that Wayne Kramer (Running Scared) had the gig, but it was revealed last week that Kramer and Stallone had parted ways over creative differences. "Initially, Mr Kramer was hired to direct a dark comedy," explained Sly. "However, his vision was much darker and exceptionally more violent than how the project was originally conceived. It was decided that it would be better for everyone to move on and consequently Mr Kramer was dismissed by producers earlier this week. There were no volatile clashes; it was simply a professional parting of the ways."

Kramer's bad luck is our good fortune though, since it marks Walter Hill's first theatrical feature since Undisputed in 2002. Stallone began courting the veteran director last week, and announced to Harry Knowles yesterday that the deal was done.

Hill, should the name be (gasp!) unfamiliar, was a mainstay of 70s and 80s action cinema, writing Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway before getting behind the camera himself for the likes of The Driver, Southern Comfort, The Warriors and 48 Hours. He's also a great director of Westerns, helming The Long Riders, Wild Bill and Geronimo, and on TV, kickstarting and setting the tone for Deadwood, and turning in the mini-series Broken Trail.

He had seemed to turn his back on the cinema, after a relatively doldrum few years in which he was behind the ill-advised 48 Hours sequel, and the botched sci-fi Supernova, from which he removed his name (Geronimo and Wild Bill did well critically but died at the box office). The aforementioned TV work and his producer credits on the Alien movies (yes, even the AvP ones) kept the wolves from the door though, and before word of Headshot, he was already planning a big-screen comeback in the form of **St Vincent, which was to star Mickey Rourke. That film is still, as of February, listed at the IMDb as in pre-production. Could Headshot be a "one for them" deal to prove he's still got the right stuff and help get the more personal St Vincent off the ground?

Whatever the reason, it's great to see Hill back where he belongs. Headshot is apparently the tale of a hitman (Stallone) and an as-yet un-cast cop (can we suggest Timothy Olyphant please?) who join forces when they find themselves investigating the same murder case. Yes indeed; it's a mis-matched pair of hardcases on opposite sides of the law who initially dislike each other and... you know the rest.

"We've been on the same track since The Driver," says Stallone. "Then 48 Hours didn't happen either, so here we are: 35 years later I'm finally driving with Walter Hill."

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