Joe Carnahan Talks Canned ‘Daredevil’ Trilogy; Says ‘Nemesis’ Will Shake Up the Genre

Published 12 months ago by

Daredevil the man without fear Joe Carnahan Talks Canned Daredevil Trilogy; Says Nemesis Will Shake Up the Genre

With a growing number of franchises on Marvel Studios’ agenda, it’s perhaps unsurprising that superheroes like Daredevil and Luke Cage ended up being allocated Netflix shows rather than their own big budget movies. It’s not been too long, however, since the prospect of a big screen Daredevil reboot from Twentieth Century Fox seemed close to becoming a reality, with Joe Carnahan (The Grey) set to direct and very keen on creating a superhero movie with a retro 70s feel.

In the end, Carnahan’s Daredevil failed to get off the ground for the simple reason that Fox ran out of time and the rights reverted to Marvel. Despite this, there’s been persistent interest in Carnahan’s vision for Daredevil, in large part due to the ultra-cool sizzle reel that he made as a pitch to Fox. In a way, the fact that Carnahan’s Daredevil movie never happened only makes it more intriguing; it can remain a great concept without ever having to worry about proper execution.

Speaking in an interview with Movie Pilot, Carnahan was asked to give more details on exactly how the plans for Daredevil ended up fizzling out, and what he would have wanted to do with the character if Fox had been able to hold on to the rights.

“What people don’t realize about the DD project is that the producers of the film, got to me very late. They had a script that I read and I thought that while the action was wonderful, the story didn’t really have any additional bite. There was nothing I suggested a trilogy as follows. ‘Daredevil ‘73’ ‘Daredevil ‘79’ and ‘Daredevil ‘85’ where I was going to do a kind of ‘cultural libretto’ and make the music of those eras a kind of thematic arc . So the first one would be Classic Rock, the second one would be Punk Rock and the third film would be ‘New Wave.’

“The problem was, the option was almost set to lapse so we made an eleventh hour bid to Marvel to retain the rights for a bit longer so I could rework the script. Unfortunately, it just didn’t happen. Marvel wanted the rights back. I don’t blame them.”

Mark Millars Nemesis Comic Book Movie Joe Carnahan Talks Canned Daredevil Trilogy; Says Nemesis Will Shake Up the Genre

With Daredevil firmly behind him, one of Carnahan’s current pet projects is an adaptation of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s limited comic book series Nemesis. The film adaptation rights were optioned by Fox in 2010, and Carnahan was confirmed for the directing job in early 2012.

Since then, however, the momentum on Nemesis seems to have eased off. The comic books (which weren’t very well-received by reviewers) are about a character who is essentially the anti-Batman: a bored billionaire who uses his wealth to become a supervillain and terrorize the cop who imprisoned his parents. Speaking to Movie Pilot, Carnahan sounded passionate about the script that he co-wrote with his brother, Matthew Carnahan, but not very confident about its chances of ever getting made.

“I think the biggest challenge with Nemesis is that it’s just a motherf***er of screenplay in that it pushes a lot of buttons and does things that both expand and violate the traditional mores of the ‘comic book adaptation’ and that’s a scary conceit when The Dark Knight is considered the socio-political lynchpin of that particular universe. I think Nemesis f**ks with the genre in such a thumb-in-the-eye fashion that it might simply be something for another time and place. It’s incredibly topical and remains infuriatingly so. I chalk it up to another really wonderful script that my brother and I wrote that simply may be too smart-assed for its own good.

“My brother and I took our real inspiration from Nemesis in the fact that only one character, the bad guy, wore a costume. From there it deviates from the source material in a number of ways but what remains alive and well is Millar’s simmering disdain for the status quo and the relentless violence that characterizes the graphic novel.”

Mark Millar Nemesis Secret Service Update Joe Carnahan Talks Canned Daredevil Trilogy; Says Nemesis Will Shake Up the Genre

Millar himself has described the screenplay for Nemesis as “relentless and powerful” and Carnahan has previously referred to it as “radical” and “inflammatory.” Studios tend to value different qualities in potential comic book adaptations than the authors of the source material, however, and Carnahan’s admittance that Nemesismight simply be something for another time and place” doesn’t speak to any great optimism that Fox is keen to get the cameras rolling.

Fox seems to have a wary attitude when it comes to making R-rated comic book movies. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s Deadpool script is still waiting for a green light, despite having a director and star ready to go and assurances from the writers that it could be made for the modest budget of $50 million. Even with comic book movies as popular as they are, and films like The Dark Knight Rises pushing the boundaries of the PG-13 rating, it may be some time before major studios are ready to enthusiastically invest in non-family-friendly superheroes. Or supervillains, for that matter.


Source: Movie Pilot (via CBM)

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  1. The Dark Knight Rises pushing the PG-13 rating?

    • You have to remember that in the UK, the 12A rating only exists because parents wanted to take their 8 year olds to see the original Spider-Man movie in 2001 but couldn’t because it was rated 12, meaning the board of classification deemed it unsuitable for children under that age to view yet compromised because the character is popular with people from the ages of 3 onwards.

      So yeah, a campy, corny flick mostly aimed at the children’s market being deemed unsuitable for the chiddlers is harmless compared to the utterly dire consequences faced by Gotham in TDKR (nuclear bomb, on screen deaths, guns and explosions – which are generally considered a no-no for movies aimed large audiences which can also include children since it’s a superhero film after all – and especially the genuinely threatening Bane character all play into the rating).

      • Wow, the UK is more strict than I expected. I took my 6 year old cousin to see the Dark Knight Rises. I also took my 12 year old sister to see Taken with Liam Neeson in it.

    • The violence in it is pretty relentless. Bombings, explosions, beatings, gun battles, fist fights, Batman’s spine breakage, ritual executions, dead bodies littering the streets, nuclear terrorism etc. I’d say it was definitely pushing at the ceiling of the PG-13 rating.

      It’s weird to think that The Dark Knight Rises got the same certification as Thor. PG-13 covers a very broad spectrum.

  2. Too bad Nemesis was just a juvenile piece of masturbatory shock fiction. Guaranteed blockbuster.

    • It truly is one of the worst comic books of all time.

      • I bet you’re a fan of movies like Avengers that depict supervillains causing massive scenes of unspeakable death and destruction, slaughtering thousands, while depicting those same villains as charismatic, puckish rogues who are just as likely to inspire laughter as disdain. It must have rattled you to be shown a TRUE supervillain, stripped of the campiness and neutering that makes the so many of the beloved Marvel/DC villains so much “fun”.

        • Haha. Okay, markmillarfan27. If you want to see a “true supervillain” – horrible, ruthless, stripped of camp (which, by the way, is neither a good nor bad thing) – in a truly great comic book, read Miracleman. I’m sure Nemesis seems pretty “xxxxtreme” for 13-year-olds, though.

          • Wow, name dropping an Alan Moore comic! Your opinion must be beyond reproach! I bet you’ve even read Watchmen! LOL! For the record Miracle Man, like Nemesis, is a great satire of the violence and hypocrisy inherent in the superhero genre. Millar was trying to provoke and agitate you. He obviously succeeded.

            • I don’t know if it’s because you’ve never read Miracleman (one word) or if it’s because you don’t know what satire is, but Miracleman doesn’t have the slightest bit of satire in it.

              • So you’ve moved into the “nitpick the other guy’s spelling/grammar” phase of your argument. A true sign of desperation. I can’t tell if you don’t know what the definition of the word “satire” is or if your reading comprehension is really just THAT poor. At any rate, I think I’ve already fed you enough.

                • I wasn’t criticizing your grammar, I was driving home the point that you’ve obviously never read Miracleman. Why don’t you Google “satire” and “miracleman” and see how many hits you get. There isn’t an iota of satire in it. It seems pretty obvious at this point that you’re neither familiar with Miracleman nor the definition of satire. But then that should’ve been made obvious by the fact that you’re a big fan of Mark Millar.

    • Yeah, funny that. Mark Millar’s films generally tend to fail here in the UK. You could say “that’s because it’s rated 18 and meant for adults only so movies with that rating (the US equivalent to an 18 rating is R just for information purposes to help explain this) always fail”.

      Which would be wrong because 18 rated horror films always do well over here, Dredd became the first 18 rated movie to hit the number 1 spot in its opening weekend since 2009 (when one of the later Saw installments came out in cinemas) and the Evil Dead reboot also hit number 1 last April.

      It’s just that UK audiences tend to see BS in a trailer and avoid paying to watch it. Kick-Ass 2 did poorly here, so did the first one, Wanted fared no better.

      Still, it shows that Millar’s a hack who’s lucky to have had the success he’s had so far because his original comic books (ie those not based on existing DC and Marvel characters) are garbage. He’s the comic book equivalent of Eli Roth, writing violent, sexual content for the hell of it with absolutely no purpose whatsoever then claiming “artistic integrity” when people call him out on it.

      • I didn’t read kick ass 2 cuz of the alleged gang rape in the book, I just fail to see how any writer can make a comedy, (dark satire or not) and still add in something so detestable.

        • One of the reasons I’m not really a fan of Millar’s writing is that he tries way too hard to be shocking, often at the expense of the story and tone.

          • It’s very clear that Marvel and Dc held him on a tight leash, there are some hints of gore in his Ultimates book, but it’s only hinted at and not shown and what gore was shown in his Ultimates book wasn’t not done for shock value.

            • Try watching Agents of SHIELD. It might be lukewarm and non-offensive enough for you.

      • Eh, I tend to like his stuff.

      • “writing violent, sexual content for the hell of it with absolutely no purpose whatsoever then claiming “artistic integrity” when people call him out on it.

        You just described your favorite movie Dredd- a snuff film for teenagers where the “good guy” murders a defenseless woman in his custody by forcibly drugging her and then throwing her down a flight of stairs in a fetishized, “cool”, super slo-mo 3D sequence so that the director can show us how “bad-ass” he is.

  3. Man-Thing / Legion of the night would be the perfect Rated movie Trilogy. Marvel could make three great films for less than 40 million. A Citrusville set could be created on a back lot, and no costly CGI or expensive special effects would be needed. Its a character driven comic that deals with social issues and sub-cultures, and it has great characters like Rev. Mike, the Fool Killer, and Howard the Duck.

    Daredevil is taylormade for Netflix.

  4. Captain America 2 was not for kids either. I felt it was much more adult oriented than The Avengers was, and really probably would not keep the attention of most 8 year olds.

    • funny thing is that when I go buy comics, I never see any one under the age of 13-15 buying books, and all comics now in days are gear towards young adults, only stands to reason theyre films would do the same.

  5. after reading the last bit about how he’s only barely adapting the comic and instead doing his own bs, i’ve lost hope in this being even remotely good. all of miller’s comic adaptations have been toned down and raped (in the script department) and are no where near as good as the comics they’re trying to milk money out of (by sharing the same title).

    wanted was ok as an action movie, but was NOTHING compared to the comic, kick ass 2 was horrific beyond explanation and whilst kick ass 1 was good, it wasn’t as climactic as the comic.

  6. Wanted was a pretty decent movie and Kick-Ass was fun. I’d be interested in seeing Nemesis.

  7. There was once an idea floated (I believe by the group that did the first daredevil film) to do a sequel with DD versus The Kingpin and Mr. Fear. Wish that had gone ahead…I’d love to see Mr. Fear versus The Man Without Fear! (Uh, it;s not too late, y’know!). Punped for the Netflix offering, though; I will definitely be there!

  8. “punped”…”pumped”…spelling…tsk.

  9. A Nemesis would be interesting and the comic was one of Millar’s better books in recent memory. But there are many in the comics blogosphere and online peanut gallery that disagree.

  10. Quotation was a load of crap BS imo. Hollywood, comic super hero, producers and directors going at it on their own will, etc., etc.,

  11. Just read Nemesis. It surely would’ve gained by having more than 4 issues. There’s almost no character development, and it comes off as cliches on steroids. The shock value of the comic is not only for show, but the only way for the reader to feel any empathy towards the characters, since, as I said, it lacks character development. But I liked it, despite many reasons not to, I really did enjoy it.

    Btw, I read only the first volume, and the latest news regarding sequels of the comic book are 2 years old. Anyone know what happened?

  12. Too bad this didn’t get made. I would have liked to see a different kind of CBM. This and Deadpool really need to get made.
    I’m sure the Carnahan script would have been really interesting too.