The name Steven Knight is one some of you might know, others not. He has slowly been building a reputation for himself as a stupendous writer of film and television for years, even though he started out oddly enough as one of the four creators of the game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. But from there he came to write the 2002 acclaimed film Dirty Pretty Things and has since become the creator of the acclaimed show Peaky Blinders as well as the writer/director of the 2013 film Locke (And also co-created the show Taboo with Locke‘s star Tom Hardy), the 2014 Pawn Sacrifice, and is even working on the script for the upcoming David Fincher-directed World War Z sequel.
However, one film that has garnered him massive praise, and essentially showed his talent, was the 2007 David Cronenberg-directed film Eastern Promises which he solely wrote the script for. Focusing on Russian gangsters trying to keep a midwife from telling the police about their sex trafficking ring, the film has become somewhat of a classic in the last ten years. A sequel had been pursued by Cronenberg for years as well before he eventually dropped it since he couldn’t get the budget for the film that he needed.
With talk of Cronenberg retiring because of such instances of an inability to produce more quality films, it’s surprising to find out today that while Cronenberg has given up on the idea of an Eastern Promises sequel, Knight hasn’t. In fact, according to him, one is in active development and set to begin production this year. This comes from a quote he gave in an interview today while promoting his new ominous film Serenity (Set for release next week on January 25th). Check out the full quote below:
It is like fishing, where you leave it out there, and it’s been out there for a while. It went through permutations in the sense of, how do you follow Viggo? We’ve been through that and we’ve moved on and now we’re in a position where I will say “watch this space,” we’re close to getting into production. The script changed a bit. It changed quite recently as a result of events in the world. The topicality of the Russia thing. I’ve adapted it to reflect recent events.
Going off of that quote, the first star’s film Viggo Mortensen, who played undercover FSB agent Nikolai Luzhin, will not be in the film. Understandable since Mortensen has since become an established and prominent actor with Eastern Promises being the film that got him his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor. In fact, this year he is up for several Best Actor awards for the film Green Book, in which he plays Tony Lip.
With that in mind, what will Knight do with this? Will he do what Taylor Sheridan did with his sequel Sicario: Day of the Soldado? Jettisoning the previous installment’s lead character and focusing on supporting characters? Will Naomi Watts return? Or will the story be still centered around Mortensen’s character in some way? Will Knight direct the film in place of Cronenberg? We’ll find out soon I imagine if what Knight says is true. Stay tuned!