It’s crazy that Lupita Nyong’o had to wait some five years after winning an Oscar to get top billing in a major motion picture. For what it’s worth, Jordan Peele’s Us was worth the wait. But it appears another big Nyong’o-led project simply ain’t happening: According to director John Woo, speaking to Deadline, the acclaimed actress had to drop out of his remake of his own classic, The Killer.
The good news is that the redo is still happening. Woo is handling the film himself, much as Alfred Hitchcock remade his own 1934 film The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1954, or George Cukor loosely remade 1932’s What Price Hollywood? as the 1954 version of A Star is Born. There’s no word on who’s placing Nyong’o, but she had to drop out due to that old line, scheduling conflicts.
“There was a scheduling problem because she’s so popular right now!” Woo said about Nyong’o’s exit. “We rewrote the script and it took so much time…she had to leave for another project.”
The original The Killer, starring Chow Yun-fat as an ice-cold but secretly ethical assassin, came out in 1989, and along with 1987’s A Better Tomorrow, it established Woo as one of China’s premiere action auteurs. Eventually he came to Hollywood, for a checkered run that produced highs (Face-Off, Mission: Impossible II) and lows (Paycheck, Windtalkers). He returned to China, to great acclaim, and The Killer looks to be his partial return to Hollywood, funded by Chinese and American backers. Meanwhile Nyong’o will still be seen, sort of, in the next Star Wars.
Elsewhere in the profile, Woo is asked the inevitable: What does he think of Marvel movies? He didn’t make a direct comment on their quality, but he did claim Stan Lee once approached him about directing one back before the MCU took off. He turned him down then, and he said his answer today would be the same. So there.