Albert and Allen Hughes previously co-directed such films as Menace II Society, From Hell, and The Book of Eli, but the siblings are splitting apart with their latest projects. The latter recently finished production on the Chinatown-esque Noir flick Broken City, starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe. However, the road's been much rockier for Albert Hughes' similarly-titled crime-thriller Motor City - and now, backer Emmett/Furla Films has slammed its foot on the brakes (apologies for the pun) just two weeks before principal photography was scheduled to begin.
Scroll on down to learn more about the lengthy pre-production process for Motor City, as well as information on why the movie is now on indefinite hold.
Motor City tells the tale of a small-time crook who seeks revenge against the shady people responsible for framing and landing him in jail. That logline reads as generic crime genre material, but the script penned by Chad St. John - who wrote the "unofficial" Punisher short film, Dirty Laundry, which is now a viral hit - he also made the 2009 Hollywood Black List for best non-produced screenplays. Moreover, Motor City features a protagonist who makes Ryan Gosling in Drive seem talkative by comparison - as the former, being played by Gerard Butler, only has a single line of dialogue in the entire film.
Albert Hughes' film endured a prolonged search for a suitable leading man prior to Butler coming aboard, with Captain America's Chris Evans linked early on. The project appeared to be chugging along at a steady pace nine months ago, with Dominic Cooper (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) set to star opposite Amber Heard (Drive Angry) as the female lead and Gary Oldman as the villain. However, reports emerged thereafter that Cooper was being replaced by Jake Gyllenhaal - who also came and went, prompting rumors that Avengers' Jeremy Renner might take the lead instead.
Renner, however, did not sign on, but Butler eventually did; nonetheless, Motor City was unable to to make its then-planned spring production start date. That set the stage for Heard and Oldman to move on to projects that were not stuck in arrested development (Machete Kills and Paranoia) a couple months ago. Things once again appeared to settle down thereafter, with a new September 17th start date penciled in; in fact, just last week, reports emerged revealing that Oscar-winner Adrien Brody was on the verge of signing on to replace Oldman as the film's antagonist.
Now, Motor City financier Emmett Furla/Films - along with Envision Entertainment and Foresight Entertainment - has announced that shooting is being delayed yet again (by issuing the following statement):
“Faced with the realities of a very short post-production schedule and complicated visual and special effects, the producers have decided to push back production on Albert Hughes’ Motor City... The circumstances surrounding this project made it impossible to meet the firm March 31st delivery date [set by Warner Bros.] without compromising the quality of the film.”
There've been no other updates on the situation, what with the ongoing Labor Day holiday. Hence, insiders are taking a wait-and-see attitude where it concerns the re-negotiations and deals that will have to be struck in order for Motor City to pull back together. It still has a solid director and cast attached in some form - not to mention, a lead role that calls for the physical presence of someone like Butler, but will challenge him to get viewers emotionally-invested (without uttering more than a few words). That's all to say: it would be a shame if we never get to see how the final film turns out.
More on Motor City as the story develops.
Source: Emmett/Furla Films [via Deadline]