The original show was the British equivalent of Starsky and Hutch – only with a harder edge. It followed the adventures of Bodie and Doyle, two agents who worked for the fictional CI5.
The show starred Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw as Bodie and Doyle - and Gordon Jackson as their long suffering and perpetually grumpy boss Cowley.
Speaking of the film Marshall said:
“It’s going to be a hard-hitting action movie. I always loved the show. It has one of the greatest theme tunes ever and a really great central premise. I just thought: this is going to make a great movie.”
The director went on to explain:
“The slogan, or kind of the tagline for the film, is ‘Fight fire with fire’ and that was their whole thing... Primarily it’s going to be an exciting movie, but there’s an inherent political angle on the story.”
While the original show was gritty and low budget – it looks like the new film version won't be skimping on action:
“We want to contemporise it but keep everything that made the original great, just turn it into a real wham-bam rip-roaring adventure movie. And a really great buddy movie: these guys are like Butch and Sundance or Riggs and Murtaugh. But this is a British buddy movie, which I don’t think I’ve seen before...”
Sounds like it could be a pretty cool update.
The original show hasn't dated all that well – it was given the remake treatment a few years ago on British television, but the attempt failed to recapture the magic of the original.
That said, Marshall loves to pay homage to past pop culture. His last few films have “homaged” everything from Alien to Zulu, by way of Escape From New York and Mad Max, with at least twenty other films thrown in for good measure.
My only worry is that Marshall’s films have shown diminishing returns. Dog Soldiers is without a doubt a genre masterpiece, while The Descent was a good horror movie. However, I found Doomsday to be slightly muddled - and it failed to add up to the sum of its parts. It's easy to see his 1980s low-budget action film inspiration – but the film was disjointed and choppy.
Doomsday was a noble failure, but a failure all the same.
Marshall shouldn’t be too far outside of his comfort zone with The Professionals, but it’s going to take a while for it to hit screens - as it’s only in the scripting stage.
No casting has taken place yet, but if I were in charge, I’d have Daniel Craig step into the shoes of Lewis Collin’s tough Bodie, and for the sheer hell of it I’d cast Jude Law as the replacement for Martin Shaw’s Doyle. He’s practically the spitting image of Shaw!
I’m sure that there’s a million other casting choices out there – so let us know your choices!
More on The Professionals as we get it.