Exclusive: Focus Features Pull The Plug On David Cronenberg's 'Eastern Promises 2'

For a director as fearsomely original as David Cronenberg, he’s hasn’t necessarily shied away from sequels, they just haven’t come to fruition. He penned a remake/reboot of “The Fly” for 20th Century Foxalthough the studio scrapped it, and more recently, it looked like he was actually going to make the long-talked about “Eastern Promises 2,” a sequel to his 2006 gangster picture, with original writer Steven Knight again penning a script, and Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel both set to return.

But the emphasis should be put on the past tense here, because we just spoke to Cronenberg (and his star Robert Pattinson) in New York as they did the press rounds for “Cosmopolis,” and despite news of the follow-up looking promising, it seems that the sequel is no longer going to happen. When we asked Cronenberg what he had coming up next, the filmmaker said bluntly, “It was supposed to be ‘Eastern Promises 2.’ But that’s dead.”

And it looks like it’s not come from the director or casts’ end, but instead a studio reluctant to give the greenlight. “We were supposed to start shooting ‘Eastern Promises 2’ in October,” Croneberg said, still sounding frustrated and in disbelief. “[But] It’s done… If you don’t like it talk to James Schamus at Focus. It was his decision.”

The original wasn’t exactly a blockbuster, taking $17 million domestically and a little over $50 million internationally, but presumably Focus at one point thought that the numbers would have worked, so the about face is a little curious, especially as it sounds like the decision was pretty last minute considering the fall shoot. As such, the director doesn’t yet have anything lined up, and is instead focusing on finishing a novel that he’s writing that is, according to him, “two years late.” Stay tuned for more from our interview with Cronenberg and Pattinson in the next few days, and you’ll be able to see their collaboration in theaters this Friday, August 17th. – Reporting by Drew Taylor