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Can Angelina Jolie get saltier?

August 13, 2010 | 11:02 am

   Jolie

Filmgoers who saw "Salt" well know how its ending was left open wider than Red Square. But will Sony drive through with a sequel?

The stars and principals that need to align have, at least, begun to come together.

Writer Kurt Wimmer has ideas for how to advance the story of the spy thriller, in which Evelyn Salt is a Russian plant in the highest echelons of the CIA who may or may not be working for her home country.

Director Phillip Noyce, for his part, is said to be interested in returning for a new installment. Scheduling and preferences would need to be worked out, however: Though the filmmaker doesn't officially have a new movie, he is involved with several high-priority development projects.

They include "Wenceslas Square," the indie thriller that was set to shoot in Serbia as early as this summer but has gotten hung up on casting issues as producers seek a big-name star. Noyce is also interested in directing Russell Crowe in the Australian love story "Dirt Music," which has long been a passion project for the director, though without financing yet, no one's moving on that one. And there's another romance film in the offing that would reunite Noyce with "Salt" producer Sunil Perkash.

Angelina Jolie had said that she's keen to work on a sequel; she has the Tim Burton film "Maleficent" and the big-franchise dreams of Kay Scarpetta waiting in the wings, but no commitment to a new movie now that she's finished Spyglass spy movie "The Tourist."

"Salt" producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and, in particular, Sony remain a question, however. The line the studio has put out to insiders in Hollywood is that the the company wants to see how the film performs in key international territories -- over the coming weeks it opens in the U.K., Germany and numerous South American countries -- before deciding whether to move forward. The movie has performed reasonably well in the U.S., earning $96 million thus far, but the production cost $110 million, with marketing costs running along the usual lines for a star-driven action picture. And sequels tend to get pricier.

Then again, Sony has done the heavy lifting, launching an original script and an unknown title in a climate inhospitable to them. Now comes the easy part. Well, comparatively speaking.

--Steven Zeitchik

http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: Angelina Jolie in 'Salt.' Credit: Sony Pictures

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Women's Work: Angelina Jolie steps into a spy role originally written for a man


 
Comments () | Archives (13)

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No, now comes the HARD part. It's extremely difficult to write a convincing male romantic partner for a super-strong female badass such as Jolie - notice how both Tomb Raider movies barely even feinted in that direction.

"Salt" dodged the problem of showing how such a woman develops affection for a physically weaker partner by skipping that part entirely, and asking the audience to take it as a given.

Now, it's sometimes possible to do a rip-roaring action movie without romance - T2, 3:10 to Yuma, and The Bourne Supremacy come to mind - but again, it's very difficult.

I probably wouldn't have green-lit the movie in the first place, but Wimmer had better turn in a masterpiece of a finished screenplay before I'd even consider funding another.

Why would there have to be a male romantic partner? If it's such a requirement (even if isn't), I'd like to see flashbacks in the sequel - as Evelyn Salt is carrying out her new/subsequent mission - of the extremely undeveloped relationship between her & Mike: fleshing out Mike's character (August Diehl deserved more onscreen time, and we want the sex scenes), how she seduced him to the point she gained entry to North Korea, how her feelings changed from just using him to caring, how the CIA dealt with marriages between spooks & civilians.

And the sequel's plot could include the sexual tension between Salt & her female/male adversary. But apart from a little sex between Salt & her husband, I don't want sex in the sequel because that was one of the great things about "SALT" - there was no sex, skin, seduction, Salt using womanly wiles - except at the end, and even then not as a femme fatale.

The sequel will also require more character development of Evelyn Salt, Peabody and at least the main adversary. It would be great to know more about Salt's backstory, her training (Cirque du Soleil, Chinese acrobat school? :D), growing up in USA, keeping in contact with Russian network, her psychology, what makes her tick.

The sequel will also be interesting in that everybody will still think Salt is a Russian spy because the president didn't see her fight Ted. Only Peabody knows - his character needs a lot of development too, Chewitel Ejiofor is too good an actor to play one-dimensional. This has a lot of potential as Salt can get in a lot of sticky situations with everyone looking to kill her and only Peabody to vouch for her.

I would REEEALLY like to see a sequel to this. There are many unanswered questions, and Angelina's acting was very good in this first one, so I trust that she'll be able to bring a lot of nuance to the character in the sequel.

I agree that the sequel has a lot of potential, and I too would like to see flashbacks to Evelyn with her husband, though I am not opposed to her finding a NEW love interest who is alligned with her paying back her enemies for what they did to her. Angelina looks so cool phisically fighting the bad-guys, and it's interesting to see her character SALT come up with ways to escape and evade those who want to do her harm.... it was also mesmirizing to watch her when her acting is at it's best....The last kill of the movie was very original, and she pulled it off beautifully, but the emotional scene when she finally finds her husband on the barge was POWERFUL!

...aw, just Give her the sequel SONY!!!!!!!!!!!

Angelina was terrific...how did she survive the Maryland woods? What happens next keeps us hanging on...SALT will do great overseas, as all that nasty gossip is not taken seriously and her humanitarian efforts are more appreciated.

I really enjoyed the movie would definitely like to see a sequel BUT please, Sony, hire a new scriptwriter and director. Give Angelina the movie her performance deserves.

I'd rather see a Wanted sequel or a Mr. and Mrs. Smith sequel. Other than the Tomb Raider franchise when she was younger, Jolie seems averse to sequels, which in general, is a good policy to have, despite the success of Salt.

"I don't want sex in the sequel because that was one of the great things about 'SALT' - there was no sex, skin, seduction, Salt using womanly wiles - except at the end, and even then not as a femme fatale."

And that, Ligaya, is exactly why I didn't bother seeing the movie in theatres. When I go to a Bond movie, I want to see Bond be ruggedly handsome and irresistible to women. And if I'm going to see a female spy movie, I'll want to see some feminine wiles.

Oh, and the reason the relationship with the husband was underdeveloped? People wouldn't buy her falling for someone who wasn't at least as badass as she. Apply whatever value judgments to that you like.

A Salt sequel? Seriously? Not unless Sony studio executives are suicidal. Their asses should be fired for willful destruction of shareholders value if they go ahead with a sequel. Just look at Salt's current shaky box office.

So late in the game and the movie has grossed only $160 million (just about breaking even for the $110 million cost after paying theater operators etc.) Here at home, it just struggled past $100 million, again gross, after such a long time and it's falling off the charts. You can talk about the overseas market (which is also fading by now) and DVD sales all you want, the total gross for this movie is $240 million, tops. Minus the payout to theater owners etc along the way, Salt isn't very profitable.

Compared to the returns Paramount (Inception) and other studios got (Despicable Me), Sony studio execs are fools or gamblers for betting so much on a movie for so little money. Someone in Sony is asleep at the wheels and should be fired for not controlling such reckless spending.

Talking more about risk. Any studio exec has to be in serious denial to think the lead is physically well when she shot the film. The body frame and the deadskin look are too familiar to anyone in LA. It doesn't come from dieting. The public isn't fooled.

Run a sequel (and we all know the track record of sequels) and the risks of bleeding red are very real. You could bring in a co-lead and get a serious script doctor to lower the risks and keep the franchise alive. But first, someone had better start controlling the spending and project risk profiling at Sony. It barely came out alive with Salt.

If you read the reviews, and I mean the real objective reviews, Salt is a mindless pulp movie. A no-brainer and misses a lot of pepper.
Why bother with a sequel, it’s bombing already in Europe. No one really cares about the 80s cold war.WE don’t live in constant fear.

Regarding the comments on 8/15 and 8/16 about Salt "bombing" in Europe, what are you talking about? Salt does not even open in Europe until the weekend of 8/20, so how exactly has it bombed? Salt has only opened in some minor markets and Asia and Russia, Europe is this week, we will see how it does. Jolie often does more than double her domestic gross in foreign markets, if this holds true, worldwide gross comes in at 300M on the conservative side. This makes Sony more than happy. BTW, once Inception came out nobody at Sony, or anywhere else, thought Salt would see the same numbers, they are not idiots.

I guess I wouldn't mind a SALT sequel but I agree, keep sex out of it. I did see the first one in the theaters, but as I've experienced with a LOT of sequels, they don't deserve the cost of admission. I'll probably just wait and netflix it

I sure hope there will be a sequel. It was nice to simply be entertained with a little action and adventure. This movie was entertaining and engaging - even if you could see "through" some of it. I was excited at the end ... and realized, "oh this isn't over, yet". Hooray.


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