About The Production
The Corruptor was written as a starring vehicle for international superstar Chow Yun-Fat as a follow-up to his American film debut, the action-thriller The Replacement Killers
The Corruptor was
written as a starring vehicle for international superstar Chow
Yun-Fat as a follow-up to his American film debut, the action-thriller
The Replacement Killers. Unlike Yun-Fat's first American
film, it is a serious action-drama like the films Yun-Fat made
in Hong Kong with director John Woo: a dark tale of bloodshed,
honor and betrayal set in New York City's Chinatown.
The project came about when Illusion producer Dan Halsted read
an article about two NYPD cops stationed in Chinatown who were
indicted for corruption.
Says Halsted: "We connected the dots and realized that the
project would be a great vehicle for Yun-Fat. We approached New
Line at the same time. They were also interested in working with
him and bought the project."
The story started to come together when the producers brought
in Robert Pucci to write the screenplay. Pucci immersed himself
in sociological studies and histories of Chinese immigration,
as well as a series of newspaper reports on organized crime in
Chinatown. He also spoke with the officers investigating the case
that inspired the real-life corruption story, as well as the Federal
attorneys who brought it to trial. Upon visiting New York's Chinatown
for first-hand research "I found a world within a world,"
The writer also received important input from Chow Yun-Fat. "Robert
and I had an opportunity to discuss my view of Nick Chen and the
underground society," says Yun-Fat. Adds executive producer
Bill Carraro: "Chow brought a lot to the script with his
suggestions and his knowledge of Chinese culture."
Halsted saw The Corruptor as more than just a cop thriller.
"Beneath the police story there's a cultural story,"
he says, "the clash of two very different civilizations --
a crude culture and a very civilized one that also regards corruption
as necessary to its survival."
James Foley, who had never made an action film, was the producers'
choice to bring the story of the Chinese cop and his young American
partner to the screen. "Jamie is recognized for his ability
to bring relationships to life," says Halsted. 'That's what
he did in At Close Range and Glengariy Glen Ross, two
films which have at their core complex father-son relationships."
Foley, who was preparing for a career as a psychoanalyst before
turning to film, agrees that there is a recurring theme in his
movies. "I enjoy the complexity that is drawn from the deficit
of the imprint of the father. The Corruptor is all about
fathers and sons and the hatred that can go on between them.
But Foley's main reason for wanting to tackle the story was his
long-standing desire to move into the action genre. "I have
always been interested in action films," he says, "and
I like this one because it has the kind of psychological reality
that I liked in '70s films like The French Connection, Dog
Day Afternoon, or even Serpico. In the '80s, action
films became comic books where you made a joke every time someone
got shot, and I had a hard time knowing how to direct something
'This is considerably more realistic than a lot of movies out
there today," concurs Mark Wahlberg. "It's unfortunate
that people aren't making these kind of movies. That's why I'd
rather watch old films with Cagney o
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