David Cronenberg has never shied from making films that explored the darkest recesses of humanity, from the horrors that our bodies can inflict upon us to the moral dilemmas that slowly devour our souls. He has made many great movies and even a few masterpieces. For years Cronenberg had never considered making a sequel to one of his films, but three years ago he first discussed the possibility of a follow-up to his 2007 London-set Russian underworld crime drama Eastern Promises. Another year passed and the subject came up again, but the director had been too busy working on his films A Dangerous Method and Cosmopolis to give the sequel his full attention.
Now it looks like the Eastern Promises sequel is gearing up once more. Claude Brodesser-Akner at Vulture is reporting that Promises co-star Vincent Cassel is in negotiations to join the production, with Cronenberg back in the director’s chair working from a screenplay by Steven Knight – the writer of the original – and Viggo Mortensen starring. There’s still no word on whether or not Eastern Promises female lead Naomi Watts will be returning as well.
In the original Promises, Watts played a midwife at a London hospital who became drawn into the world of Russian gangsters played by Mortensen and Cassel. The sequel will reportedly pick up directly where the first left off, with Cassel’s impulsive Kirill, the new boss of his crime family, and Mortensen’s soft-spoken but deadly (watch the bathhouse bare-knuckle – and bare ass – brawl in the original for further reference) Nikolai revealed to be an undercover federal agent.
It’s been years since I watched Eastern Promises, but I remember enjoying it immensely. Although the first film seemed very complete in its structure and plotting, the door was slightly left ajar for a sequel. In a way, the original felt like the first season of a classic television crime drama, like my all-time favorite crime series Wiseguy. I would be excited to see an Eastern Promises sequel especially with the principal creative talent and cast back in place. How about you?