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.”
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.