There’s been a lot of hubbub around the “Twilight” cast and crew lately, but the most interesting stories have come from outside the Hollywood bubble. Take, for instance, the speculation about Robert Pattinson’s next project. Back in October, the “Twilight” actor was tapped to star in the upcoming biopic “The Lost Honour of Kumail Nanjani,” but more on that later.
What initially drew fans’ attention to Pattinson was the news that he was in talks to star in a remake of John Woo’s classic ‘90s action drama “Hard Boiled,” which would be directed by Martin Scorsese. Scorsese is best known for his work on “The Departed” and “Hugo,” while Woo is most famous for his collaborations with John Woo, the legendary Chinese action film director. If those two masters of crime-fiction came together, it would be something to behold.
However, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. “Hard Boiled” was one of the most popular films of 1994, and since then, it’s remained the highest-grossing foreign film in the Philippines. In 2016 alone, it made over a billion dollars in ticket sales, proving that not even two decades later, people still want to see that film.
As exciting as those projects were going to be, they didn’t seem like the type of work that would land Pattinson back on the big screen. Instead, it was the next project that he announced that had fans talking. He’s set to star in and produce the feature film “Saving Mr. Wu,” which is based on the 2001 Marvel Comics graphic novel of the same name. The project is billed as a “Black Widow” film, which marks the British actor’s first foray into producing and overseeing a film project.
What is “Saving Mr. Wu” about? The original graphic novel follows a young man named Jimmy Wu, who is born in the United States but raised in Hong Kong. Jimmy inherits the martial arts skills from his father, a former Kung Fu champion, but it’s not until he’s older that he discovers his mother’s family secret: she was in fact Jimmy’s paternal aunt, and his father was in fact her second husband, Black Widow’s partner. As a young adult, Jimmy travels to San Francisco and gets a job as a security guard at a high-tech company, where he meets and falls in love with Grace Chen, the daughter of the company’s founder. Unfortunately, Grace’s father is not as welcoming as the family’s Chinese name would have him believe, and he forbids Grace to see Jimmy because he fears a white marriage would hurt his company’s image. It is then that Jimmy agrees to spy on Grace for her father, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The film will be based on the events that take place in San Francisco, and since this is a story about a martial arts expert, perhaps it’s not a huge surprise that this film will have a martial arts theme. Whether or not Pattinson will actually star in the film is not yet known, but it will be the first time that he’s taken on the role of an action hero.
In more recent months, Pattinson has popped up in several news articles, discussing the significance of action figures in the upcoming “Black Widow” film. He’s not the only one with a connection to these figures either; his “Twilight” co-star, Anna Friel, has a small role in the upcoming film as well, and she will be portraying the first female superhero, Black Widow. In an interview with Screen Rant, Anna said that she’s “obsessed” with the character and can’t wait to dive into her roles. She went on to discuss how “Black Widow” was an important part of her childhood, noting that she would spend hours playing in her father’s makeup as far back as she can remember.
As excited as Anna is to take on this role, it’s not yet known what part she will play in the film. One would assume that she’s the antagonist, since this is a story about a white woman who becomes a black widow and a story about racial injustice. In an interview with the Telegraph, Anna described her character as a “sassy and strong” Afro-Latina who becomes a “bad-ass” and who will “kick [Pattinson’s] ass” at some point in the movie.
Black widow is only the second African-American to headline her own comic book series, and she was the first African-American to appear on the cover of a Marvel comic, so it’s only natural that some fans would be excited about an all-black cast. While the character is an important part of American history, she’s never really been portrayed as a strong black woman, so it will be interesting to see how the movie tackles this idea.
For those who have followed his acting career closely, it would come as no great surprise that Pattinson would take on the role of a stuntman in “Saving Mr. Wu.” In an interview with GQ, he discussed the significant stunt scenes in the film and how he trained for them. “I spent two months just going to work every day and getting myself used to the idea that any second something could happen that would require me to react quickly and decisively,” he said. “I did a lot of training, and to be honest, it was the most interesting training I’ve ever done.”
While it’s not yet known what type of stunts Pattinson will be performing, it is safe to assume that this will involve some risky behavior. In the same interview, he mentioned that he’s “always wanted to try [stuntwork]…but never really had the confidence to ask.” Perhaps these upcoming projects will be the catalyst he needs to learn to finally ask.
Besides starring in and producing “Saving Mr. Wu,” Pattinson is also set to produce a film titled “The Lost Honour of Kumail Nanjani,” which will be a biopic about the life of a late comedian and actor, Kumail Nanjani. The project is slated for release later this year.
According to The Wrap, the “Once Upon a Time in China” and “The Lost Honour of Kumail Nanjani” films will mark Pattinson’s first foray into producing. If the previous projects are any indication, this will be an interesting ride, and it will be exciting to see what type of projects Pattinson takes on next.