Filming Underway in Los Angeles?
Sergey Lukyanenko went from being a struggling child psychotherapist and sci-fi writer to an international celebrity with the success of his novels and screenplays
The Russian news media reported earlier this week that director Timur Bekmambetov was in Los Angeles to film Twilight Watch (Sumerechnyy Dozor), the third screen adaptation of fantasy writer Sergey Lukyanenko's epic Night Watch series of novels. However, Russia Blog's LA correspondent, UCLA professor David MacFadyen, confirms via email that Bekmambetov is making frequent visits to southern California these days but the director has been coy with the local Russian press about his current projects.
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Day Watch was released on DVD in the U.S. in October 2007
The first film, Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor), was shot on a budget of $4.2 million by Russia's Channel One. Released in late 2004, it scored $16.7 million at the Russian box office. The breakout success of Night Watch in Russia and the CIS attracted the attention of U.S.-based distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures, which acquired worldwide (ex-CIS) distribution rights to Night Watch and its sequels for $4 million. While the film only scored $1 million in limited distribution in the U.S., it established a strong fan base among American horror and sci-fi aficianandos. And for all of its violence and dark scenes, Night Watch contained a subtle pro-life message - in the opening scene, the protagonist Anton Gorodetsky attempted to use black magic to kill his unborn son Yegor (a child he thinks is the issue of his wife's infidelity), unwittingly turning the boy towards the side of evil.
The second film Day Watch (Dnevnoi Dozor - aka Night Watch 2: The Chalk of Fate) was released in Russia on New Year's Day 2006 and then in the U.S. on June 1, 2007. The sequel picked up right where the first movie left off, with the hero Anton scrambling to find a magic chalk that once belonged to the Central Asian conqueror Tamerlane in order to save the world.
The special effects and action sequences for Day Watch were even more elaborate than for the first film, but the plot also featured more romance and comic relief. The sequel grossed $38.8 million ($31 million in Russia alone) at the global box office. Collectively, the films are known as known in Russia as the dozori or "watches".
Bekmambetov is shooting the third film in English, with both Russian and American actors. There has been some speculation, according to the Russian Film blog, that Morgan Freeman was being considered for the part of the chief American watcher. It will be interesting to see Fox Searchlight's finished product in 2009, and how the latest chapter in the struggle between Light and Dark Others looks in LA.
You can watch trailers and read Russia Blog's reviews of these critically acclaimed movies here:
Watch scenes from Day Watch set to the 1980s pop hit "I Need A Hero" by Bonnie Tyler