Director Doug Liman to Helm Period Drama About Two-Gun Cohen
by Ethan Anderton
March 21, 2011
Since that other adaptation of The Three Musketeers fell to the wayside with Paul W. S. Anderon's version getting off the ground first, director Doug Liman has had a couple different projects with his name involved. There's an adaptation of The Last of the Tribe and there may still be active development on his gestating untitled moon project. Now the filmmaker seems to have his next project locked as THR reports Liman is set to develop a period drama about Morris Abraham "Two-Gun" Cohen, the famous British bodyguard of revolutionary and political leader Sun Yat-sen, who led the overthrowing of China's last imperial dynasty.
Liman describes Cohen, "He’s a thief and a con man who goes to China with visions of self-aggrandizement, but while he’s there he falls for the country and for a woman. The story falls off the shelf without having to twist the facts. It’s almost hard to believe it happened.” Here's how a book by Daniel S. Levy recounts his life:
Morris Cohen, scion of a religious Jewish family, spent his youth much like the Artful Dodger, picking pockets in the East End of London, precincts which were haunted by the likes of Jack the Ripper. After multiple arrests and a stint in a reformatory, the young hustler made his way to the Canadian prairies, where he became a sometime carny huckster and a full-time card shark, often attracting the attention of the local constabulary. But after service in the Great War, through force of personality and a loud voice, he became something of a community leader, especially among the beleaguered Chinese of the Canadian West. His affinity for the underdog soon made him their sole Caucasian lodge brother and eventually brought him to the attention of the father of the Chinese Republic, Sun Yat-sen. Cohen instantly became a Sun worshipper and, with guns on both ample hips, a bodyguard to the great man and, later, factotum to his widow, the redoubtable Soong. Through a hellish internment during WW II and the turbulent events in postwar China, Two-Gun plied his adventurer's trade. Alas, there's no retirement plan for that trade, and the aging rogue, without savings, became a tiresome M�nchausen, ever expansive about his powers.
The book doesn't seem to be the basis for the film itself, but it does give us a great idea of where the film can go. Newcomer Matt Brown is behind the script which Liman will shoot in China, and that has the director very excited. He says, "I’ve been making extremely American movies and this is a chance to make a movie that plays out on an international scale: we’ve got the Westerners, the Brits, the warlords and then all the Chinese culture.” Sounds like quite an epic story for the big screen and a passionate project for Liman. Interested?