Joe Carnahan Leaves ‘Death Wish’ Reboot; Bruce Willis Wanted to Star

Published 2 years ago by

joe carnahan death wish remake1 Joe Carnahan Leaves Death Wish Reboot; Bruce Willis Wanted to Star

Filmmaker Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces, The Grey) has few qualms expressing his honest thoughts and opinions (as our staff knows from personal experience), so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise to learn that he’s been clashing with Paramount executives over creative decisions on his Death Wish reboot.

Unfortunately, the two parties have proven unable to reach a compromise when it comes to casting for the project – which Carnahan revealed he’s been scripting for Frank Grillo (The Grey, Gangster Squad) over a year ago – and the director is now withdrawing, to pursue another movie venture altogether.

Deadline is reporting that Paramount wants Bruce Willis playing the lead role of a family man-turned street vigilante, following his wife and daughter being viciously assaulted. The casting makes sense, seeing how the aging (re: 50 +) action movie icon is close enough to being this generation’s equivalent of former Death Wish star Charles Bronson – outside of perhaps Sylvester Stallone (see: his performance in Bullet to the Head), who almost starred in and directed the series reboot back in 2006.

However, the problem is Carnahan wasn’t interested in just remaking director Michael Winner’s 1974 film. Instead, he was working from the source novel written by Brian Garfield, with the intent of capturing a side of contemporary Los Angeles seen in such films as director Michael Mann’s Collateral and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. When all is said and done, though, Carnahan isn’t having second thoughts about the decision to walk, telling his followers on Twitter “You stick to your guns. You walk what you talk and you only make the things and do the work you love and believe in.”

death wish remake charles bronson Joe Carnahan Leaves Death Wish Reboot; Bruce Willis Wanted to Star

It’s probably fair to say this development moves the Death Wish franchise reboot back to square one, as the next director to come aboard may prefer starting from scratch on the screenplay (rather than using material from Carnahan’s draft). As for the A-Team filmmaker: he is reported to have an eye on directing Narco Sub, a South American drug cartel thriller written by David Guggenheim (Safe House) that Tony Scott was attached to direct prior to his death.

More on the Death Wish reboot as the story develops.


Source: Deadline

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Death Wish
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  1. I love his Hollywood Trenches interviews & I respect his integrity great job.

  2. Integrity is a great thing, but if you butt heads all the time and burn too many bridges it eventually might prevent you from working in the business altogether. A creatively compromised movie might still be better than no movie at all.

  3. Would it really matter if he’d agreed to have Willis star?

    Think about it this way. He agrees to what the studios suggested, Death Wish becomes a potential success, that gives him freedom to cast Grillo in his next movie due to the studios knowing they can trust him to direct a great movie.

    • Would it matter? Yeah. Carnahan has a vision. He wants work that inspires him. By reasonable estimations, he’s not in the business of producing product simply to line his and someone else’s pockets.

      • But he’s throwing away an opportunity to remake a movie in his own vision just because he doesn’t agree with the leading man suggested to him.

        I’m a musician as well as trying to get my own book finished and published and in the world of entertainment and creativity, you can have what you consider the greatest vision of all time but making a slight change every now and then and compromising makes it even better.

        The amount of times I’ve changed a section of music or a lyric or a plotline or even a character and his/her intentions would take several pairs of hands to count them on but those changes have improved the work, even slightly.

        Bruce Willis has proven that he can play gritty and badass roles over the years and is a reliable actor when you need to play it straight up and slightly emotional. Why walk away in a hissy fit like Carnahan has when he could’ve taken a few days to think about it, realised Willis may or may not be a good choice depending on his vision and either accept it, change things to cater to Willis being the lead or continue walking and watch someone else do it and make the money and get the acclaim he could’ve had?

        Plus like I said, if he continued with Willis in the role and it did well, the studios would be willing to let him have Grillo as the lead in his next movie. Give and take.

        • I enjoy Willis Movies but Honestly,they feel kinda all the same recently or ? So calling it Death Wish makes no sense ! Die hard XX or what ever would be more fitting !

          I think a new actor would be better ! So Joe gets thumbs up for this !

  4. Joe Carnahan and Matthew Vaughn should join forces.

    They can team up and walk away from big projects together!

    • HaHa!! Well said Sir.

  5. This reboot I thought had Liam Neeson written all over it as Paul Kersey. I just can’t see anyone else doing it

  6. That’s too bad. I really liked The A Team and wouldn’t have minded him directing this movie. Hopefully they get someone else who is compentent. I am the biggest Bruce Willis fanboy, but I can see how a change of cast when you’ve been writing a script for a certain actor a while could mess things up.

    I just hope that one day, for whatever reason, someone decides it’s worth the money to do a sequel to The A Team because that was a great movie…

  7. Bronson is one of my heroes. Willis will never measure up to his level of bad-assery.

    @Ken J, I’m hoping for a A Team sequel, too. I loved that movie.

  8. Bruce Willis wanted to star? I didn’t read anywhere in there where Bruce Willis stated he wanted to be in this movie. Paramount wanted Willis would have been more accurate.

  9. I personally think Jason Statham would be a better choice for the Death Wish reboot.

  10. I’m kind of getting tired of Bruce Willis. He needs to go away for like a week or something. I mean, seriously. Take a vacation dude!!!

  11. NOOOOOOOOOOO only one Charles Bronson!

  12. Kinda catch 22. You got to applaude his commitment to his vision he was writing the screenplay as we as directing so that commitment to only doing work that inspires him is commendable.

    Makes a change from chasing the cheque and with the success of A-Team and The Grey wasn’t to bad a movie you’d of thought the studio would be happy to let the writer/director develop the vision that they signed off on.

    But this is Hollywood and studios do change there minds at the drop of a hat and once one of the executives gets a bug bear about something they’re notoriously to come around to something different.

    Thing is you need to be able to priorities which projects mean more to you, how many times do we see actors or directors phoning in a performace because it opens up avenues to do something they really care about.

    Sometimes you need to make a deal with the devil to get into heaven (hmmm rather profound, where’d that come from…. sorry about that)

    • @Jonathan

      Actually, Tha A-Team underperformed in theaters. That’s why most likely there will not be a sequel… Unfortunately…

      • The A-Team was so dumb it hurts my head just to think about it. Such a waste of potential and a talented cast except for Bradley “Light in the Loafers” Cooper, who has no business being in an action movie. He’s currently auditioning for the real life role of Leo DiCaprio’s silk purse.

  13. The only choice in my mind would be matt nnable. The guy is a badass