The upcoming sequel to Face/Off is in active development, and screenwriter Simon Barrett has provided a fruitful update on the progress of Face/Off 2. Written by Mike Werb & Michael Colleary and directed by John Woo, Face/Off was released in movie theaters in 1997. The hit movie starred John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in a story where two arch-enemies swap each other’s faces, taking on each other’s identities unbeknownst to most everyone else.
Speaking about the sequel with ComicBook.com, Simon Barrett says that Face/Off 2 is still moving forward. At this point, Barrett and director Adam Wingard are in the midst of the latest rewrite of the script, and Barrett says they’re “really excited” about the direction they’re taking the Face/Off sequel. As the writer explains, keeping the new script in the same continuity as the first movie has proven to be challenging, and while it’s gotten the studio heads a bit confused, they’re still very much on board.
“We’ve got Neil Moritz and Paramount behind us and, so far, they keep giving us somewhat befuddled, but genuinely enthusiastic thumbs up, every step of the way. I want to say something that people haven’t mentioned yet. It took Adam and I two years to pitch Face/Off 2, because our pitch was so confusing, that [the studio] just kept saying, ‘We think we like what you’re saying, but can you just explain who’s got whose face on in this scene?’ Ultimately, it was only when they actually paid us to write a 35-page treatment that I think everyone really understood what we were proposing. There’s a lot of enthusiasm at the studio level, which I’m not used to.”
There’s certainly no shortage of reboots and remakes these days, and the filmmakers could have very easily decided to simply reboot Face/Off from scratch. Going this way would be easier for the writers as well, as it would need to tie into the previous movie in a way that makes sense. The very challenges presented by instead taking on a direct sequel, especially for such a popular movie, are what make Face/Off 2 more interesting as far as Simon Barrett is concerned.
“When you’re doing a movie like Face/Off 2, you’re actually not allowed to talk about it. But we had an announcement and I don’t even know if the announcement was actually totally intentional, in that it was announced as like a Face/Off remake and Adam and I had to actually get vocal and say, ‘No, it’s not a remake. It’s a direct sequel.’ Whether that’s better or worse, we don’t really care, because we think it’s better, but it definitely is better than a Face/Off remake, because you pretty much know where that would go, don’t you? Whereas continuing the story of Castor Troy and Sean Archer and maybe adding some younger characters to the mix, to me, is much more interesting.”
There are still some hurdles faced by Barrett and Adam Wingard when it comes to actually rolling cameras on Face/Off 2. One particularly big challenge that Barrett points out relates to the casting. If you’re doing a direct sequel that would continue the story of Castor Troy and Sean Archer, you’d almost have to get both Nicolas Cage and John Travolta to return, as fans would have a very hard time accepting new actors in these roles, especially with specific faces at the focal point of the plot. As of now, it doesn’t seem that either actor is officially attached, but Barrett does suggest they’ll be trying to bring back the original stars.
“I want to be clear: we’re not getting paid particularly well. These are projects that we are generating and convincing studios to let us play with these beloved valuable IPs, so that’s where we’re currently spending Adam’s capital on some potentially really exciting films. That doesn’t necessarily mean these things are going to reach fruition. Obviously, there’s a lot of steps between Face/Off 2 getting onto a theater screen in front of you, including some obvious, perhaps, casting challenges, but it won’t be for lack of trying on our end.”
Castor Troy seemed to be dead at the end of the first movie, but in a movie universe where doctors can fairly easily replace one man’s face with another’s, then maybe they were able to also save the dastardly criminal’s life. No release date is attached to Face/Off 2 at this time. This news comes to us from ComicBook.com.