Top 5... - July 31, 2016

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (and five other long-awaited sequels we'd love to see)
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (and five other long-awaited sequels we'd love to see)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was something of a surprise hit on its release in 2002; having been made on a modest budget of around $5 million, the film was a slow-burning success that stayed in cinemas for over 12 months and went on to become the fifth highest grossing film of that year, turning its writer and star Nia Vardalos from jobbing actress into one of Hollywood's hottest comedic properties.

Understandably, with that kind of success, the producers were keen to capitalise and make a sequel as soon as possible, but it was nearly 14 years before My Big Fat Wedding 2 finally arrived on the big screen in March this year. So why did it take so long?

Well, it's complicated. Like pretty much everyone else, the original film's success took Vardalos by surprise and while the film had significantly raised her profile in public, privately she was struggling with a very personal battle to conceive a child and since she had written her character, Toula Portokalos, as a mother, she understandably found it difficult to continue writing that story while her own remained unresolved.

However, much like the original film, this is a story with a happy ending and in the finish it was her discovery of the joys of motherhood through adoption that led to the idea for a 'Greekquel'. In the course of promoting the new film, Vardalos explained that on her daughter's first day of kindergarten she found herself behaving exactly the same way as her Greek parents did; fussing, sobbing and generally being over-protective. It proved to be a lightning bolt moment and Vardalos realised that she had to write a sequel from that perspective.

So, with a new director in Kirk Jones behind the lens, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 picks up with Toula in the midst of a struggle. Her travel agency and the family dry cleaners have both closed due to the recession and her daughter, Paris, is close to finishing high school. Finding her family's tendency to smother and embarrass her increasingly unbearable, Paris is planning to do what many kids in her position do and choose a college place as far away from home as possible.

If you're wondering where the wedding bit comes into all of this, it's not Toula or even her daughter Paris that's getting hitched, but Toula's parents. Her father Gus has become convinced that he is a direct descendant of Alexander the Great and is trying to find the documentation to prove his theory when he comes across his marriage certificate and discovers that the priest who married him and his wife Maria never actually signed their marriage certificate – meaning, legally speaking, that they were therefore never actually married. Cue the wedding bells...

Much like the first film, this is a light-hearted family comedy that's a lot of fun and, if you enjoyed the original, the sequel is unlikely to disappoint. You can find the trailer below, beneath that we've picked five other long-awaited sequels we'd really love to see...

 

 


The Subtle Knife

Philip Pullman's seminal trilogy of novels known collectively as His Dark Materials seem tailor-made for a big-screen adaptation and with the success of franchises like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, when the Chris Weitz-directed first instalment The Golden Compass emerged in 2007, it looked like a nailed-on hit. The casting was great (Nicole Kidman in particular was an inspired choice as the icy Mrs. Coulter), the cinematography was beautiful and the film performed well at the box office, raking in around $372 million worldwide, but with a huge production budget of $180 million and a decidedly mixed reception from critics and audiences, New Line Cinema seemed less than enthusiastic about a follow-up. It's a huge shame to leave the final two films un-made, but while an adaptation of The Subtle Knife looks to be off the table for now, it's worth remembering that Ralph Bakshi only completed the first part of his attempted Lord of the Rings trilogy in 1978, and look how that turned out. It's a way off, as things stand, but we live in hope.

 

The Girl Who Played With Fire

Just like His Dark Materials, Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy was a huge literary hit that seemed destined for cinema screens from the get-go. In fact, just two years after the final book in the trilogy was published in 2007, all three had been adapted into a brilliant series of Swedish films starring Michael Nyquist as journalist Mikael Blomkvist and Noomi Rapace as the story's female anti-hero Lisbeth Salander. Two years later, an English-language version directed by David Fincher, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, arrived in cinemas and it was, arguably, even better. But then, nothing. Sadly the film didn't perform as well as anticipated, and after a prolonged pause Fincher moved on from the project, along with Craig and, eventually, Mara too. At the end of 2015 there was word that Steven Knight would be directing a film called The Girl in the Spider's Web, featuring the same characters but moving away from Larsson's original story, with Alicia Vikander being mooted as the person taking on the role of Salander. A proper sequel could still happen, but for the time being it seems to be on ice.

 

Mathilda

Following the success of Luc Besson's breakthrough film Leon, there was huge demand from fans of the film for the French director to make a follow-up that focussed on Nathalie Portman's character, Mathilda, the young girl who is orphaned when her parents are killed and is taken under the assassin's wing to learn the tricks of the hitman trade. However, Portman's resulting stardom and Besson's reluctance meant that the project never happened. Instead, the idea morphed into Colombiana, the 2011 film starring Zoe Saldana ta Besson co-wrote, handing the director's chair over to Oliver Megaton. That's probably as close as we'll ever get.

 

Beverley Hills Cop IV

Paramount actually announced a fourth movie in the Beverley Hills Cop series early in 2014, with Jerry Bruckheimer set to produce and Brett Ratner as director, but a little over a year later the film was removed from the studio's release schedule. Eddie Murphy stated last year that the writers were still “trying to get the script right”, and other ideas such as a TV series with Axel Foley as the father of a new protagonist have popped up now and then, but while it hasn't officially been consigned to the graveyard just yet, there hasn't been much news since. But hey, if only to erase the memory of Beverley Hills Cop III, we'd still love to see this happen.

 

Searching for Keyser Soze

As one of the best-loved films of the 1990s, thanks in large part to that plot twist at the end, it's unsurprising that there was demand for a sequel to Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects and at one point Chazz Palminteri, who plays Agent Kujon in the original film, said that the producers “were past talking about it” and that they'd even just about settled on the title Searching for Keyser Soze. However, it seems to have been wishful thinking on Palminteri's part and it's all been quiet on the sequel front since then. If it happened, we'd be right there at the cinema to see it, but as things stand this one looks to be dead in the water.

 

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Kirk Jones

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