David Cronenberg is out making the rounds to promote the DVD release of his latest feature, Cosmopolis, but that doesn’t mean the Canadian auteur wasn’t willing to talk about some of his other projects – including the now DOA sequels to Eastern Promises and The Fly. Indiewire got Cronenberg to open up about why neither project came to pass, and, as always, it all came down to money.
Cronenberg reveals that he was open to shooting a sequel to his Russian mafia film Eastern Promises because “he wasn’t finished with the character of Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen).” Cronenberg never does sequels, so there had to be something compelling if he was willing to return to a world he’d already explored. He explains what the pull was.
“I really wanted to see Nikolai go back to Russia, because one of the things I wanted in the first movie was that you see a bunch of Russians in London, but you never see them in Russia. In other words you experience their exile and they are trying to re-create some of Russia within London. In the original screenplay there were some scenes in Russia and I thought it was better if we don't see that – they long for Russia but we never see that."
The idea of sending Nikolai back to the motherland is intriguing, but we’ll never know what might have been because Cronenberg says he’s no longer involved. “Focus Features couldn't agree on a budget, basically," Cronenberg said. "I thought it was a very ambitious script and I wanted to do it properly and they really felt the financial restraints of the world in general. It was a really budget disagreement.”
These money woes also killed Cronenberg’s planned sequel to The Fly. When asked about the project, he states “it was a budget problem, basically.”
A sequel to Cronenberg's The Fly was released in 1989 called The Fly II starring Eric Stoltz, but it was made without Cronenberg's participation. The director has never really divulged the details of his proposed sequel, but he did offer up these thoughts in the interview:
“It wasn't really a remake, it was more of a sequel or a sidebar. It was a meditation on fly-ness. None of the same characters or anything and, of course, with an understanding of modern technology. It was something I was very pleased with and it was a disappointment not to get it made.”
We concur with that last bit – definitely disappointing neither of these projects will get made with Cronenberg’s involvement.