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Monday, November 9, 2020

What Could Have Been: The Brazilian Job


Hey, dear reader. Look at your clock. It probably says something to the effect of something-o’clock. Well, if it does, that means it’s time we look at something that wasn’t made. Indeed, it’s time to see what could have been if the entertainment industry didn’t break our collective hearts and souls. Today’s topic is a sequel to the remake of The Italian Job. I’ve personally never seen it, but I’ve seen part of the original. By that, I mean I saw the opening credits and decided to go play World of Warcraft because I have the attention span of a 5-year-old who just drank a dozen Red Bulls. Whatever the case, I hear both films are actually really great. In the case of the remake, a sequel was only natural.

Enter The Brazilian Job. A film that would have seen our intrepid heroes head to South America to pull off another heist. The sequel had been projected to release sometime around the mid-2000s; or a few years after the 2003 remake hit theaters. Given that this write-up is about unmade media though, you can likely surmise that it didn’t get released. Indeed, The Brazilian Job is something of celluloid vaporware. So come along, dear reader. It’s time to see what could have been.

Also, I’m aware the header image is the logo for The Italian Job. There was never anything for The Brazilian Job and as such, I settled for second best. Sorry (not sorry).

The Story

Information on the film is sparse to say the least. If we take a trip over the Lost Media Wiki (which will be referred to as LMW from here on out), we can find enough to at least paint a picture of what must have been a really slow production cycle. To shamelessly plagiarize—I mean quote the aforementioned LMW article: there were locations in Paris and the Swiss Alps that were being scouted for filming locations. I have no idea why, unless the The Italian Job ended there or the team from the first film would be there and subsequently get brought back together for the would-be titular Brazilian Job.

In September of 2004, Variety reported that filming would begin in March of 2005—the month when I turned nine-years-old (pointless fun fact). It was also announced that Mark Wahlberg (or Marky Mark if you like 90s music), Seth Green, Charlize Theron, and Jason Statham would reprise their roles. As a pointless personal interjection: that is a fantastic cast. Seriously, that’s some high quality stuff. I really should watch the remake.

Anyways, let’s move on. According to the LMW article, Paramount was hit by key figures stepping down from their positions in November of 2004. This wouldn’t be the last time that Paramount was hit by something; the studio has been prone to losing figureheads like Tom Rothman is prone to denying scripts because it wouldn’t make enough money for him to buy another 600 yachts. Seriously though: Paramount’s been very prone to things like this throughout the years, but alas: this caused some troubles in the production. Those who would have greenlit the film may be replaced by people who don’t want the film to be made due to budget concerns or contractual disputes when it comes to the payday for an actor.

Whether or not that happened though, I don’t know. What I can tell is that, according to the LMW article, the film hit a snag thanks to script issues. This isn’t too uncommon and usually means some additional rewrites or bringing on another writer to do a complete retooling of the script. What the case was here, I have no idea, but it’s possible that the story didn’t make sense, lacked enough action, or deviated from the tone of The Italian Job—perhaps being too dark, too light-hearted, or simply feeling like a different film. I don’t know, but those are some possibilities in my humble opinion.

Due to these script problems though,, this meant that production was delayed—in this case, it was pushed back an entire year. On the bright side, a release date of summer 2007 was given. On the down side: some of the actors were apparently beginning to lose interest in even making the film. One of these was Mark Wahlberg, who stated the following:

t's all about the script. ... I'm only making movies now that I want to see, or that I think that people want to see me in,

He continued by saying:

A lot of people really liked The Italian Job, and a lot of movie sequels don't live up to the original, so we want to make it as good, or better.

Actors lacking interest in making a sequel—let alone a movie—is not something you want to happen, a sequel especially. If you lose one of your returning characters, you can—in theory—write them out of the story by saying “oh, they don’t want to risk being caught” or something like that. Alas, Wahlberg received top billing, so it would be really hard to make the film work without the lead character. Whoops.

Whatever happened after this, I don’t know. What likely happened was a mixture of studio politics and scripts not being what Paramount Wanted. According to the LMW article, in August of 2007, there had been two rough drafts and neither had been accepted. Whatever these two scripts were like is unknown, but there is a theory surrounding at least one that we’ll get to in a little bit.

Due to the lack of a script being approved, more cast members began to question whether or not the film would ever be made. Seth Green was one of these actors, who was quoted as saying:

My assumption is because the hierarchy at Paramount changed hands four times since we put that movie out, it's gotten somewhat lost in the shuffle.

Meanwhile, in an interview with IGN in March of 2008 (oh hey, I was 12 that year—more pointless fun facts), Jason Statham said the following:

You know, I've been talking about that for two years: The Brazilian Job. I think somebody should just erase it from IMDb. Save us all a problem, and put it back on there when it's fully due and ready. I don't know. It's one of those things that's just sitting around.

Now let’s head over to Wikipedia—where there’s more that one can find in the way of quotes. However, I want to focus on one thing because it’s a lot more interesting and funny. At some point: David Twohy, the writer, director, and all around creator of Pitch Black (the first film in the cult classic Riddick series) went to Paramount with a script for a film entitled The Wrecking Crew. The studio liked it, though they thought it would be better off as a sequel to The Italian Job. As such, they wanted the cast and crew to come back.

Then nothing came of this.

Jumping ahead to January of 2010, Twohy stated the following:

The Brazilian Job probably isn't happening. I wrote it years ago, and they just keep rolling it over on IMDb. Paramount—what can I say?

Whomp whomp.

Seth Green added fuel to the fire that was created by the doubt. In June of 2010, he was quoted as saying:

The Brazilian Job doesn't exist actually [..]  [it’s a] wonderful myth of IMDb.

Bizarrely though, in July of 2010, Mark Wahlberg stated that the film was in “active” production. This is likely nonsense though because over a decade later, nothing has ever come of this. No updates, no murmurings of it reentering production, nothing. For all intents and purposes, The Brazilian Job is as real as Half-Life 3. Though that isn’t where the story ends. There is a pretty big rumor that exists surrounding what came of those scripts that were used. So before we get to my personal take, let’s go over said rumor.

Life in the Fast Lane - Was The Script Repurposed And Become Fast Five?

An extremely popular theory surrounding The Brazilian Job is that the script—or one of the scripts—for it was repurposed for the 2011 film Fast Five—the fifth entry in the wildly successful Fast and Furious franchise. The film is notable for being the first one to score a “Fresh” rating on Rottentomatoes (77%, which made it Certified Fresh).

Fast Five takes place in Rio de Janeiro and centers on Dominic Torreto’s crew pulling off a heist which will yield them $100,000,000 in US dollars. However, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s character, Luke Hobbs, stands in the way to take down Dom and friends before they can pull it off.

Or, in simpler terms: vroom vroom, crash, punch, zoom, talk, vroom, crash, boom.

Easy-peasy stuff, so where do the similarities come in? Well, while the two studios behind both films are different (The Italian Job’s remake was distributed by Paramount Pictures and Fast Five was distributed by Universal Studios), it’s possible the script was shopped around for other purposes. It’s possible that Universal may have purchased it and had minor rewrites done on it to utilize it for the next Fast and Furious film.

Other similarities—in the characters specifically—can be found thanks to a Reddit post on r/movies by u/smallpau1. This is from 7 years ago and while they aren’t exactly convincing, I still think it’s worth pointing out before we get to the next part of this theory. These similarities are as follows:

I couldn't believe how many similarities there was between Fast Five and Italian Job. They need fast cars for the heist, so they gather them, and use an abandoned warehouse to do test runs. One of their own dies, to make the team push forward to get the job done. And it turns out, Brazilian Job's plot is basically the same as Fast Five. A team of (more on these similarities later) thieves band together for a $100M heist in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

As for the team they get in Fast Five [Fast Five / Italian Job]

Chameleon/Someone to blend in

Han / Stella

Fast Talker

Roman / Charlie

Electrician/Tech Savvy

Tej(Luda) / Napster


Tego & Rico / Left Ear

Brawn (Back up every position)

Gisele / Handsome Rob

Safe Crackers

Tej / Stella


Everyone / Everyone

Certainly interesting, but could it really be possible? I would say maybe. Scripts are shopped around a fair bit and can be repurposed. I mean, look at the Cloverfield films. 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Cloverfield Paradox were both intended to be films entitled The Cellar and God Particle (which I actually read the script to). So it isn’t hard to imagine that the film was meant to be the one used for The Brazilian Job—a fair number of others seem to think so too. I mean, they referenced it in Hobbs & Shaw and before that, they cast both Jason Statham (who entered the Fast Family in Furious 7) and Charlize Theron (who opposed the family in The Fate of the Furious—which coincidentally was directed by F. Gary Gray). So who knows, maybe they really did use the script and—to quote the hyperlinked Cinemablend article—now Handsome Rob (who was played by Jason Statham in The Italian Job) and Stella (who was played by Charlize Theron in The Italian Job—I know, real surprise) are both now low-key in the Fast and Furious franchise!

Alas, the odds of us ever finding out are slim. Not unless someone came out to say so and, sadly, I lack a contact at Universal who I can ask. So I leave this up to you to decide. Personally, I think that the script was obtained and retooled. Whether it was with Twohy’s script for The Wrecking Crew or one of the two scripts that wasn’t approved by Paramount, I don’t know, but I believe it’s a real possibility. I wonder if the heads at Paramount were kicking themselves afterwards because they didn’t utilize it. If anyone knows for certain, I’d love to know!

My Take

I think the odds of The Brazilian Job ever seeing the light of day is extremely slim. It’s been 17 years since The Italian Job remake came out and I doubt many people remember it beyond having the vaguest memories of seeing it in theaters back when we weren’t all wearing masks because of the coof. As such, I doubt Paramount gives a flying monkey’s protruding schlong to fund it. Besides, they have Mission: Impossible to keep them afloat (assuming they don’t lose their CEO, CSO, CFO. or C3P0). So long as Tom Cruise isn’t dead from doing his own stunts, I doubt they care too much about a movie with people who aren’t a Scientologist.

Then there’s the fact that Paramount is owned by Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon—which runs that little known show called SpongeBob SquarePants. It’s been said that that show alone could keep Nickelodeon afloat on its own. No other show matters; SpongeBob alone generates enough revenue to keep it afloat. Assuming that it generates enough to keep Paramount afloat by association, I seriously doubt that The Brazilian Job is even an after-after-afterthought when it comes to what to produce.

Long story short: I don’t think it’ll ever get made.


The entertainment industry is nothing if not great at breaking your heart. Silent Hills, Rainbow 6: Patriots, and an actual sequel to Cloverfield (which is unlikely to happen thanks to the rights being in murky waters) are but three I can name off the top of my head. Though hey, if The Brazilian Job really was made into Fast Five, I’d say it was a pretty good movie. That was a wicked fun movie and unfortunately, it gave us three more Fast and Furious movies and will give us another three in the coming years. Thanks, Universal. Really cool.

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