Breaking News Makes Its Own

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Published April 23, 2009

 

It’s an action-movie arms race! Breaking News, Johnnie To’s 2004 shoot-em-up about a disgraced police force that videotapes its own assault on some hostage-takers to regain public standing, has inspired American and Russian remakes. To sum up: relations between the two sides are strained, and the Russians are way ahead.
 
Newsmakers, directed by Moscow-trained Swedish filmmaker Anders Banke, is the first Russian remake of a Hong Kong movie. Banke made a few minor adjustments—the beautiful public-relations expert behind the whole production (Maria Mashkova) doesn’t get off the hook quite as nicely, and the bad guys do coke—but otherwise it’s a very faithful adaptation.
 
Stateside, Paramount is at work on a version that will reportedly be directed by Joel Schumacher. According to Newsmakers producer Sam Klebanov, a producer on the project asked him for a sneak preview of the Russian remake. There’s a hint of intrigue here: Paramount’s email request did not mention that the studio was pursuing its own remake, Klebanov claims in a March 24 blog post entitled “Latecomers Are Interested.” His Russian paraphrasing of the email he received translates as, “We heard you made the film Newsmakers. If you could, please send us a DVD, as we’d really like to see how it turned out.” Klebanov didn’t send it. Of course, now that Newsmakers is in the Tribeca Film Festival, there’s no need for Paramount to go sneaking around for a screener.
 
A Paramount spokesperson confirmed that the “project is in development,” but declined further comment. “It’s good to be first,” Klebanov writes.