AFM 2012: 'Expendables 2' Director to Helm 'Heat' Remake

Simon West P 2011
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The action-packed remake of the 1986 drama has Jason Statham reprising a role originally played by Burt Reynolds.

The Expendables 2 director Simon West has signed on to direct Heat, a remake of the Vegas-set 1986 drama with go-to action heroJason Statham reprising a role originally played by Burt Reynolds.

West, whose credits include Con Air (1997) and the Statham starrer The Mechanic (2011), replaces Brian De Palma, who initially had been attached to direct the action-thriller.

Heattells the story of Nick Escalante (Statham), a compulsive gambler whose addiction has driven him to take dodgy security jobs to support his habit. When his friend is brutally beaten for an unpaid debt, he feels forced to take on the mob single-handedly.

The film is based on the novel by Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman (All the President's Men). Goldman also penned the script for the first movie adaptation, which Dick Richards and Jerry Jameson directed and starred Peter MacNicol (Battleship) and Howard Hesseman (About Schmidt) alongside Reynolds.

Cory Yuen, director of Statham vehicle The Transporter (2002), will be the action director and fight choreographer on Heat. Steven Chasman is producing the film for SJ Pictures together with Statham and co-producers Quad Films.

Sierra/Affinity is handling international sales, which kicked off at the Berlin International Film Festival in February. The title has presold to multiple territories, including to Lionsgate for the U.K., Klockworx for Japan, Universum for Germany, Ascot Elite for Switzerland, Ster Kinekor for South America and Star Alliance in China.

Statham also headlines actioner Parker, which Sierra/Affinity and Incentive Film Entertainment are rolling out worldwide, with a domestic release Jan. 25 via FilmDistrict.

Heatis set to begin shooting in February. West is repped by CAA.