Changes a plenty for Black Water Transit.

Back in Feb, I wrote an article about the cast and crew for the film version of Carsten Stroud’s Black Water Transit. Since writing that, the cast for the film has changed quite a bit.

Before I get into the changes, let me give you an idea of what the story is:

Black Water Transit tells the story of Jack Vermillion, a former Nam vet turned successful owner of container ship company. Jack’s son, an ex-junkie, is serving a ten year sentence for robbery and is having a tough time handling maximum security prison.

When Earl Pike, a former army colonel with CIA contacts, approaches him about transporting his family’s rather illegal collection of weapons out of the country, Jack sees an opportunity to make things better for his son.

Meanwhile NYPD officer Casey Spandau is working a double homicide with Pike as the chief suspect. Her crew stumbles onto the ATF’s sting for Pike, resulting in a firefight that leaves both Feds and police dead.

As a result, Jack now finds himself the target of both the Feds and Earl Pike. Did I mention Pike is already wanted for murder? Did I mention those murders were extremely brutal ones at that?

Jack has an ally in Spandau and he is not going down without a fight. Unfortunately, neither is Pike.

Ok, now onto the changes:
Well, Tony Kaye is still directing, but virtually the entire cast is different.

Karl Urban is replacing Bruce Willis as Pike and Laurence Fishburne Samuel L. Jackson for the role of Vermillion. One is an even trade or, for this type of role, maybe a step up. The other one….yeah.

Now for the type of character that Jack Vermillion is, I think that Laurence will be a better fit that Samuel L. Jackson. Fishburne does a better job playing an everyman; he has a certain quality that makes him a little more believable than very smooth Mr. Jackson.

Now replacing Urban with Willis is a whole another story. Willis has a powerful charisma that would fit with this character, as well as a presence that makes him appear to be quite capable of violence.

While I have no doubt that Karl Urban is capable of violence, acting is another matter entirely. Urban is best known for Doom, based on the popular video gave series, while Willis for Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, Pulp Fiction, Sin city, Nobody’s Fool and so forth.
Well, maybe I am being unfair, Urban was also in Ghost Ship.

The role of Officer Spandau was originally to be played by Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo of Hotel Rowanda. Now Aisha Taylor (best known as Mia Dickerson of CSI and Mother Nature in The Santa Clause 2 and 3) is in that role.

But there is one other good thing:
Bill Cobb has been cast as Frank Vermillion, Jack’s father. Cobb is an outstanding actor that has acted in 120 films and/or television shows over the last thirty three years.

He recently appeared in Night at the Museum as Reginald who, along with Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney, was part of the night crew at the Museum.

He was also in the film version of Walter Mosley’s Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned. He played Right Burke, the best friend of the story’s hero Socrates Fortlow (Played by Fishburne).

Quick note: If you have not seen Always Outnumbered, buy it right now. Seriously, it (both the book and the movie) belongs in the library of every fan of the crime genre…actually, I take that back, it belongs in the library of every person that has a brain and a heart.

Cobb also played Jazz musician Del Paxton in Tom Hank’s delightful flick That Thing You Do, as well as being the janitor in the Coen Brothers’ The Hudsucker Proxy.

This is the second time the cast has been completely revamped. This film was originally supposed star Vin Diesel, Kevin Bacon, James Franco and Sophie Okonedo. Vin left and the project fell apart.

When Bruce Willis became interested, the film came back to life.

Filming is currently underway in Louisiana.

P.S. Did you order Always Outnumbered yet?