One upcoming film whose development I have been following closely has been the thriller Law Abiding Citizen. Set to be directed by Frank Darabont and starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, it was scheduled top begin filming next month in Philadelphia.

That plan may be changing, however, as AintItCoolNews is reporting that Darabont left the film at some point last week and that it “apparently ended ugly.”

While, yes, I was interested and excited about this project filming close to where I live, I have also been interested in this due to Darabont being at the helm. I am finding myself more drawn to his work as both a writer and director the more I explore it. I had high hopes that he would inject some interesting things into the film’s story of a man (Foxx) who sets out to extract revenge on the man who killed his wife and daughter as well as the ambitious assistant district attorney (Butler) who set up the plea bargain that let him go free.

What effect Darabont’s departure from the project will have is as yet unknown. I, myself, was on the phone with the Greater Philadelphia Film Office in the middle of last week attempting to get some details on when location shooting was scheduled to begin, and they were still working under the assumption that everything was set for a mid-November start. If the film’s production company, the newly launched Film Department, want to make that schedule, they will have to bring someone on board quickly.

But what challenges does a new director face in trying to meet that deadline? Obviously, they already have their two leads cast, so unless either Foxx or Butler decide to walk with Darabont, that part is taken care of. However, if the production is committed to filming in Philadelphia, it seems that some of their work regarding location scouting and such, might have already been done for them. With such factors narrowing down their own creative input, I don’t see a director being able to imprint a strong personal vision on the story. I would not be surprised if Film Department were on the look out for somebody competent enough to point the cameras in the right direction and just get the film made as expediently as possible. Anyone know if Brett Ratner has some free time?

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About Rich Drees 7059 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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October 18, 2008 7:20 am

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