I reckon I might have seen a trailer floating around many years ago for director Maksim Korostyshevsky’s 2012 action pic, Soliders Of Fortune – about a special forces captain forced to protect a bunch of thrill-seeking millionaires who want to experience war. Beyond that, I hardly remember this title and never saw the film for that matter as the marketing couldn’t have been great prior to the film’s release on only fifty screens here in the states that year.
The film was a blast in Eastern Europe and the Middle East though – interesting moviegoing demographic out there, which essentially means the film found an audience. To that end, I guess it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that it would find traction as a TV series reboot a la Scandinavia with streaming service, Viaplay, shepherding ten-episode series reboot, The Professionals, created by Soldiers Of Fortune producer Jeff Most.
According to Peter White over at Deadline, The Professionals has already begun rolling cameras in South Africa and Ireland. Heading the cast are Brendan Fraser (Doom Patrol) and Tom Welling (Smallville), along with Elena Anaya (Wonder Woman), Saïd Taghmaoui (John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum), Ken Duken (Inglorious Basterds), Lisa Loven Kongsli (Force Majeure) and August Wittgenstein (Das Boot).
Here’s White’s rundown:
The Professionals is set against a backdrop of international espionage and corporate sabotage in the 21st century’s privately-funded space race and follow Welling as a hardened former counterintelligence officer Captain Vincent Corbo. After their advanced medical satellite explodes on deployment, billionaire futurist Peter Swann, played by Fraser, and his fiancée, medical visionary Dr. Graciela “Grace” Davila, played by Anaya, turn to Corbo. Corbo assembles a team of experienced professionals to investigate the incident. They learn that any combination of Swann’s business rivals, corrupt governments officials, and a shadowy crime syndicate could be behind the attack and represent a continued threat. Duken plays a Europol agent seeking to thwart the security team’s efforts.
I wouldn’t be surprised if TV/SVOD originals were the continuing route going forward for pre-existing film IP. Next to Daredevil and The Punisher, we’ve seen it with The Transporter, Karate Kid spin-off Cobra Kai, Empire and Millenium with Undisputed film series, and with any luck, Judge Dredd: Mega City One. I can think of a few other titles that could do well for a small screen evolution as well, while The Professionals sounds like a neat idea and will undoubtedly appeal to folks like myself with the appeal of even checking out the original film at that. It has Colm Meaney as the villain, after all, and he never disappoints.
“This is the kind of television that couldn’t be more timely or topical as it imagines billionaires using their wealth to deploy private military units to achieve their political and business goals,” said Jeff Most.
Roadside Attractions’ Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff added, “We could not be more thrilled about the cast and creative team behind The Professionals. This is the second series, the first being Lionsgate TV’s Dear White People on Netflix, that we’ve helped bring to television based on one of Roadside’s theatrical releases.”
Herbert L. Kloiber, managing director of TM International, said, “With this incredible international cast, this is the kind of action series that has enormous global appeal and we have already seen interest for The Professionals overseas. We are very excited about the way this series has come together and are looking forward to strong activity from now on up until Mipcom.”
Viaplay’s Fredrik Ljungberg added, “Given where we are with the privatization of corporate space exploration and with the world class production companies and marquis named cast involved on The Professionals, this series had all the outstanding elements that made this an excellent programming choice for the team at Viaplay.”
Michael Colleary (Face/Off) will serve as showrunner with Spooks director Bharat Nalluri directing the first three episodes. Colleary is also penning the show with producers Katy Most, Lwazi Manzi and Aoife O’Sullivan. The Professionals hails from Most Media, Subotica, Spier Films Production and Roadside Attractions in association with Jeff Most Productions, Highbridge Production, Viaplay and Tele München Group whose TM International is handling worldwide sales.