Last month, Jessica Barnes told us of a report that Denzel Washington and Tony Scott would be reuniting for a remake of Pelham, with Washington stepping into the scuffed shoes of the jaded Transit Police lieutenant originally played memorably by Walter Matthau. Now Variety is reporting that John Travolta is in negotiations to play the leader of the gang that hijacks a subway train and threatens to kill the passengers unless a ransom is paid. In the original, that role was played by the menacing Robert Shaw.
Travolta was brutish and cool as the lead villain in John Woo's Broken Arrow, so he could do a good job with the part. The script for the remake was written by David Koepp, which is another mark in its favor. But will Tony Scott be able to capture the authentic flavors of New York that helped make the original so distinctive? And will he be smart enough to cast people who actually look and sound like New Yorkers? Here's hoping he can cast the modern-day equivalent of original cast members Dick O'Neill, Kenneth McMillan, James Broderick, Julius Harris and Jerry Stiller (all on the side of the law) and Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo and Earl Hindman (the other members of the gang, all referred to by colors, which may sound familiar). Production starts early next year.