One of the last pictures actor Paul Walker finished shooting before his untimely death on November 30, 2013 was Brick Mansions, a remake of the 2004 French action film District 13 (Banlieue 13 in France). The original film was directed by Pierre Morel (Taken, From Paris with Love) and written by action auteur Luc Besson, who’s had his hands in numerous films over the years, either as a director (The Fifth Element), writer (the Transporter series), producer (Hitman), or some combination of the three. Unsurprisingly, Besson is also involved with the production of Brick Mansions, acting as a producer and writer on the project.
District 13 takes place in the very near future where a heavily crime ridden neighborhood known as B13 has been sectioned off from the rest of its city with a huge fortified wall. Damien (Cyrill Rafaelli) an undercover cop infiltrating B13 has his cover blown, and must team up with a street-savvy inhabitant of the neighborhood, Leito (David Belle), in order to survive. Leito needs Damien’s help to rescue his sister from the crimelord Taha (Bibi Naceri).
Based on the plot information available, Brick Mansions appears to be staying very close to District 13‘s plot, with the biggest change being the setting moving from Paris to Detroit. Walker will be playing Rafaelli’s role – his name is still Damien. Hip-hop artist/occasional actor and director RZA (The Man With the Iron Fists) will be playing either the equivalent of Taha or possibly the more sympathetic role of Taha’s lieutenant, K2 (played by the late Tony D’Amario in the original). David Belle’s role will by played by…David Belle. This is perhaps a smart move, as Belle’s incorporation of Parkour – running through obstacles, i.e. buildings, windows, etc, in very impressive ways – into the original’s action sequences is one of District 13‘s most memorable traits. Belle is the founder of Parkour, so it would have been difficult to find someone who could adequately replace him.
Brick Mansions is set for an April 25, 2014 release. Check out the trailer below.