Wanted by studios, Timur considers hitting the ‘Asphalt’


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EXCLUSIVE: ‘What would Timur do’ sounds like a guiding principle for those who worship at the altar of genre movies. But it’s not an idle notion or a cocktail-party game -- it’s a pressing question for those awaiting the next move from the Russian-Kazakh (last name: Bekmambetov) auteur.

The director-producer -- he most famously helmed ‘Wanted’ and also directed the Russian-language fantasy pictures ‘Day Watch’ and ‘Night Watch’ -- has been flirting with several new films since ‘Wanted 2’ hit the skids about six weeks ago. Studios really want him; it’s just a question of what he wants to do next.


Timur got tongues wagging when he recently attached himself to a movie called ‘The Witch Hunter,’ about the last of a breed that tracks down the spell-casting in their covens. And he’s long been attached to direct an update of ‘Moby Dick’ (!). He’s also involved as a producer on a slew of movies, including an alien-invasion thriller called ‘The Darkest Hour’ and the supernatural historical film called ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.’ But no commitments yet.

One previously unreported directing project, however, is emerging as a strong candidate.

According to sources, Lionsgate last year quietly acquired a pitch titled ‘Red Asphalt’ and brought Timur on to direct. A writer named Andrew Baldwin, who, a quick scan of the 2008 Black List shows, wrote a Depression-era drama titled ‘The West Is Dead,’ is writing the script.

‘Asphalt’ is described by insiders as an edgy 3-D thriller. Its larger plot details are murky (though knowing Timur’s work, a simple logline wouldn’t accurately describe the final product anyway). But Timur, who’s also attached to produce, is keen on the film, and the project has momentum at Lionsgate.
Anyone who’s worked with Timur -- or, for that matter, seen his movies -- knows he’s a stubborn visionary, with outlandish ideas germinating in his head and then taking equally outrageous shape on the screen. Love him or hate him, Timur has had, after the success of ‘Wanted,’ the clout to make the movie he wants to make in the way that he wants to make it. With 3-D ridiculously in vogue, don’t be surprised if the rubber hits the road for ‘Asphalt.’

--Steven Zeitchik

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