As far back as September of 2019 the notion of reviving the classic (it is – really) double-headed actioner Face/Off was being reported. The 1997 film was violent nectar to the millions of die-hard John Woo fans who had watched his Hong Kong career blossom like ripe bruises with hits such as The Killer, Bullet in the Head and the two A Better Tomorrow films. With the dynamic duo of John Travolta and Nicolas Cage playing out an utterly brilliant premise, the film was an instant success and is fondly remembered today.
The 2019 news pointed to a remake of the film, and fans weighed in immediately on who should take over the lead roles – Vanessa Kirby and Samara Weaving is a particular pairing that will occupy space in the Greatest Movies Never Made section of our minds. Fast forward to February of 2021, the news that Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett were to take on the reimagining was welcome indeed. That news was compounded with a tweet by director Wingard, who made it clear that this would be a sequel to the 1997, not a remake.
During the press tour for Wingard’s latest film, the multi-beasted epic Godzilla vs. Kong, Wingard talked to us about his thoughts on the Face/Off sequel, how he managed to impress the producers with his take, and gives us a little hint that fans who are expecting a Cage/Travolta reunion may well be pleasantly surprised.
Here’s what Wingard said to Stefan Pape,
Yes, there’s been a lot of talk about it being a reboot, a remake and stuff… I don’t know how that got started. I guess because it was originally being developed before I came on as a remake, and there was a script… Paramount threw it out and said “We’re not interested in doing a remake of this.”
And I just happened to be meeting with Neil Moritz […] and we were talking about that, and I said, “Listen – this is how you do Face/Off 2: You gotta do it as a sequel, this is the approach that I would do for that. So yeah, it’s a direct sequel. I don’t want to say anything too concrete about the actors, because I don’t want anything to get in the way of… you know… like, screwing anything up. But, yeah – I will say that you’re not far off whenever you’re mentioning Nic Cage and Travolta.
It’s an exciting prospect, and could be the perfect nostalgia blast for ’90s kids who have enjoyed Nicolas Cage’s propulsive resurgence as an Indie Horror icon in the last decade. Pitting the two stars against each other all these years later is on point for a generation of film and TV production who are reviving old entities like Frankenstein on steroids. What will we find if and when Travolta and Cage return to face off once again? Will it still be like looking in a mirror, only not?
We can but hope.