There's a hot new action feature in the works at Paramount. Hell Bent is an ensemble movie, intriguingly described as “Dirty Dozen go to hell” and has a script by Mark Finch (Predators), with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian (Transformers) on board to produce. The movie, which is apparently a priority for the studio, is on the cusp of casting as the script gets its final touches, so securing a suitable director at this point could be crucial.
Hell Bent has just landed that key player in Corin Hardy, who has just parted ways (but not necessarily for good) from the upcoming remake of The Crow and has been highly sought by multiple studios after Sundance success with his folktale horror film The Hallow.
Deadline have exclusively revealed Hardy's involvement with this project and suggested that this could be the first installment of a new franchise, no doubt depending on the film's success. The movie has been assigned a moderate budget of $60 million maximum and, reportedly, will not depend on the notoriety of any big names, instead aiming to cast up and coming actors tipped to be big. It has also interestingly been revealed here that the British director's departure from The Crow may not be a permanent one if the legal and creative issues with the project can be resolved - if this is the case, and Hell Bent does become a franchise with Hardy attached, the director could find himself pretty busy for some time.
The plot of Hell Bent joins a group of mercenaries serving time in a Brazilian prison. The gang are recruited by a priest to foil a demonic apocalypse by assassinating Satan - a plan that involves being murdered and plunged into Hell where they will presumably combat many evil trials before facing off against the dark prince in their efforts to save the world.
For a franchise launch, Paramount are taking what seems like a more tentative approach to Hell Bent with a smaller budget and no plans to cast big names. It would appear that by bringing Hardy on board, the studio plans to rely on the director's particular flair and experience to create what will need to be a rich thematic style - as most of this film will take place within the fantasy realm of Hell. The other pivotal issue will be casting a befitting group of guys in the roles of these unlikely criminals on a savagely heroic mission. There is definite humor in the ironic concept of sending sinners to fight Satan, so the chemistry and characterization within the gang will need to be slick and on the mark to fully utilize this idea.
As securing Hardy for the project ups the stylistic potential for this proposed action horror, it will be very interesting to see who the studio scopes out for casting and to watch this project develop visually as it begins production.
We will keep you posted of any news about Hell Bent and The Crow as it develops.