Robert De Niro escorts another wanted man cross-country in a brand-new followup to Martin Brest and George Gallo’s Midnight Run, Mia Galuppo of The Hollywood Reporter reveals. Seasoned bodyguard Jack Walsh is back in town and all packed and ready for the next great adventure. The package? Some poor schmuck with one too many skeletons inside their closet. And only one person is morally and experientially equipped to help them start over — and the job comes with a price. The theatrical sequel to the 1988 buddy comedy recently found its Charles Grodin in Scary Movie star Regina Hall, tapped to play comedic foil opposite De Niro’s Walsh or a twenty-first century caricature of him.
Reports vary on the extent of Robert De Niro’s involvement with the movie. The Hollywood Reporter credits the two-time Oscar winner as co-producer of Midnight Run 2 alongside fellow Tribeca founder Jane Rosenthal, while others purport him to be starring as well, reprising the part of Walsh 33 years after he allowed accountant Jonathan Mardukas (played by the late Charles Grodin) to elude capture. Some, like Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro, have left De Niro out of the narrative entirely, refocusing control of the franchise on Regina Hall.
Whatever the case, it’s clear Robert De Niro is a partner, alongside Jesse Collins of Jesse Collins Entertainment, Sara Scott of Universal, and Regina Hall’s very own Rh Negative. Aeysha Carr (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) is in charge of the script, taking over from David Elliot, Paul Lovett, and Timothy Dowling (Pixels) who conceived of pairing De Niro with a younger actor back in the early 2010s when ideas for a part two first came up. Berry Welsh is executive producing the second Midnight Run on behalf of Tribeca.
The original film, dubbed the “Casablanca of buddy comedies,” popularized the idea of two colliding personalities coming together in pursuit of a common goal, only to warm up to each other in the process. In Brest’s Midnight Run, bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert De Niro) was hired by bail bondsman Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano) to escort mobster Jimmy Serrano’s (Dennis Farina) disgraced accountant “Duke” (Charles Grodin) to Los Angeles safely. It was a five-day trip, tops, described by Moscone as an easy gig — in other words, a midnight run.
Unfortunately for Robert De Niro’s Walsh, Serrano’s men want Duke dead while the Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by special agent Alonzo Mosely (Yaphet Kotto), is hot on his tail. The FBI and local police force have been pursuing Serrano, a former drug dealer, for years and are hoping Duke would testify against him. A series of missteps and accidental encounters ensue. Walsh and Duke eventually arrive in Los Angeles, but instead of giving him up, the former decides to set his new friend free, and the movie ends with Walsh making the long trek home on foot. Midnight Run was a massive hit, bagging two Golden Globe noms in 1989. A sequel with Regina Hall would have to be just as coherent, biting, and funny to match the legacy of the original.
Details about the plot are currently under wraps. Regina Hall is presumably playing a Charles Grodin opposite either Robert De Niro’s Walsh or his battle-ready Millennial replacement. Since the new Midnight Run is a direct sequel to Walsh and Duke’s monumental trek across America, and exists in the same universe, Midnight Run 2 may feature our heady protagonist in the throes of middle age, with a wife and adult child, or perhaps even grandchildren. He has either given up bounty hunting or passed on the practice to a legacy pick: a relative, son, or new partner.
Conversely, the Midnight Run sequel may depict Robert De Niro’s Jack Walsh as a redeemed career criminal, reinstated in the Chicago police force for his part in helping Duke and working with the FBI. Maybe he himself has become a FBI agent and has finally retired after decades of fighting criminality alongside Alonzo Mosely. Or maybe, Grodin’s Duke had a troublemaker for a child and in stereotypical Rocky fashion, was raised by Walsh to become his own brand of freelance bodyguard. And Regina Hall’s character is exactly the job he’s looking for. The story could come at us from any angle and it would still work.
The second Midnight Run is chronologically the fourth Midnight Run sequel developed. Three made-for-TV movies, collectively bundled into The Midnight Run Action Pack, were released in 1994. None of these starred Robert De Niro and weren’t a direct followup to the events of the original. The new film, co-starring Regina Hall, kicks off several years after the original. Universal is still scouting for a new director, after Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand) expressed interest all the way back in 2012.