Last summer's Salt once again proved that Angelina Jolie still makes for as captivating an action movie star as her male counterparts - even though the film itself was generally regarded to be a decent but standard spy thriller. It still managed to gross $300 million worldwide, ensuring that Sony Pictures would at least give serious thought to making Salt 2.
Progress on the sequel has been pretty slow up to now, in part due to Salt director Philip Noyce passing on the project to direct a film like the Bloodsport remake; there's also the matter of Jolie still not being officially confirmed to return for Salt 2.
Deadline, however, says that Sony is beginning to really move forward with Salt 2 now, having rehired original Salt screenwriter Kurt Wimmer to script the followup. Even though there's no official word yet on who might be replacing Noyce as director, Wimmer is actually a conceivable option - though, he doesn't exactly have a stellar track record, having previously helmed the less-than-impressive sci-fi thrillers Ultraviolet and Equilibrium.
When producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura discussed Salt 2 last October, he claimed that Jolie was "very excited about the character" - in part because the nature of the Salt universe allows for "very extreme reactions" (read: over-the-top stunt work and elaborate plot twists).
According to the Deadline report, Jolie is still all prepped to return for Salt 2, so long as "it comes together right." If nothing else, chances seem good right now that this (not Wanted 2) will be the next Jolie-centric action movie sequel to move forward - and not just because Salt, unlike Wanted, very clearly set the stage for Jolie to return in a sequel.
[caption id="attachment_101384" align="aligncenter" width="570" caption="Phillip Noyce and Jolie on the set of 'Salt'"][/caption]
Having Jolie's name in a film's credits doesn't guarantee it'll be a smash at the box office (see last winter's The Tourist), but hand her a gun and let her run around, kickin' butt for two hours - that's something plenty of people will pay to see, whether the film in question is titled Salt 2, Wanted 2, or "Angelina Jolie Looks Hot and Kills Stuff 2". Salt was one of those summer popcorn flicks that gave moviegoers enough of what they wanted that a sequel shouldn't encounter too much difficulty in trying to convince those same people that a second, potentially more exciting adventure with Jolie's sexy spy is worth the price of admission.
Once Jolie is officially locked down for Salt 2, the project should really start to move forward. There are plenty of capable directors out there who specialize in making visceral action flicks, so Jolie's being onboard would only help to convince one of them to sign on. Plus, it's not exactly an intimidating proposition - the first Salt left a fair amount of room for improvement. Here's hoping that the Salt franchise follows in Jason Bourne's footprints of improving with each subsequent installment.
We'll keep you posted on the status of Salt 2 as more information is released.