We ran into movie producer Arthur Sarkissian at the Television Critics Association press tour. He produced his first TV series, “Vegas,” on CBS. We spoke about the upcoming fall drama, then moved to his potential movie projects. When we fished for his interest in doing another Rush Hour, Sarkissian revealed there’s serious development on a fourth film in the buddy cop franchise.
“I am working on Rush Hour 4 right now with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan,” Sarkissian said. “I’m trying to do it closer to how I did Rush Hour 1, more down to earth, more gritty, introduce two new characters and make it real the way the first one was. I personally was not happy with the third one. I thought 1 and 2 were very good. I think 3 got out of hand a little bit. It’s not a matter of just bringing them back to do another segment of that or a sequel to it by putting them in another city and having them bicker. I don’t want that. I want something new.”
Two new characters, like younger cops to whom Chris and Jackie could hand the franchise off? Not necessarily, Sarkissian said.
“Maybe younger, maybe Chris is now married, maybe Jackie is married to Octavia Spencer, I don’t know. Married to Chris’s cousin, they live in Shanghai, Chris goes out to visit them. I don’t know, I want something energetic.”
Now, I thought I was forgetting a “before they were stars” cameo by Spencer in a previous Rush Hour. Turns out Sarkissian is just pulling that out of his head, and he totally thinks he could get her after her Oscar win. “Absolutely. Why not? If it’s good, script is good you’ll get anybody.”
Sarkissian confirmed Tucker and Chan are interested in returning. He has not settled on a screenwriter yet. “Right now we haven’t decided yet but I’m very close to making a decision. I have about four or five names that we’re roaming on right now.”
Brett Ratner directed the three Rush Hour films. Hinting at his dissatisfaction with Rush Hour 3, Sarkissian was cautious about suggesting Ratner’s involvement. “If he wants to do it he’s more than welcome to do it but he’s got to do it in the right way.”
Chan recently announced that Chinese Zodiac would be his last intense Hong Kong action film, though he will continue to make movies like The Karate Kid with an action component. Sarkissian is sensitive to Chan’s needs, and he doesn’t want to overdo the action anyway.
“He’s getting a little older. I think he can fit it. What was great about Rush Hour 1 and 2 mostly was the relationship of these two and it came out of nowhere. It was just very real. We didn’t build it, we didn’t write it. It just happened. I think the action will be there but it has to be molded to fit him today and not forced into stuff that he won’t do.”
Since Rush Hour is based on the relationship between agents Lee (Chan) and Carter (Tucker), they could presumably have infinite adventures. There’s no closed-ended canon. However, Sarkissian looked to an interesting franchise for inspiration on keeping Rush Hour fresh.
“One of the things that surprised me and actually excited me was how they did Fast Five. They kept the characters, they took them and they put them in a whole different world. They put them in the world of a heist movie and it worked. I think that was brilliant what they did because if you’re not careful, what happens is you just keep repeating yourself. There’s not much you can do. You’ve got to be very careful but that’s where creativity and energy and good thought and a little bit of hard work comes to try and give them something that’s in that world but a little different.”
Of course, you don’t want it to be too different, because then it’s not Rush Hour anymore. “Absolutely not, because you will have the characters, it will be the two of them. They’ve got to be in a world where it’s not just fighting with one another.”
CraveOnline will be back with more on Rush Hour 4 after we sing it again, you all.