Just the other day it was announced that director Joe Carnahan (The A-Team) is poised to take the director’s chair on Death Wish, the remake of the ’70s revenge tale starring the Charles Bronson. Today, Carnahan is offering more details on his vision of the remake – as well as who he sees in Bronson’s iconic role.
The original Death Wish is loosely based on a novel by Brian Garfield. While the core story (a family man goes on a vigilante rampage after his wife and daughter are brutally assaulted) remains the same, the new Death Wish - like the original film – will take some liberties with how that story is conveyed. According to Carnahan, his vision for Death Wish is something reminiscent of films like Nicolas Winding Refn’s stylish crime thriller Drive, and Michael Mann’s Collateral.
Carnahan tweeted the following, on the matter:
Guys. I’m doing ‘Death Wish.’ But this version is a re-imagining of the book and set in present day Los Angeles. The L.A. of ‘Collateral.’ It’s on buses, cabs, metro trains. I want to show an unseen version of L.A. L.A. on foot. Prowling. Hunting. The vast emptiness of downtown. … Refn did a phenomenal job shooting L.A. It took on a different dimension. That’s the key. … The only role I’m writing in ‘Death Wish’ which will mark the ONE time I’ve ever written exclusively for an actor, will be for @FrankGrillo.
Frank Grillo was a standout performer in The Grey, and showed that he can definitely play a tough-but-vulnerable badass type. He must of left a similar impression on Carnahan, which would explain why the director is pulling so hard for the lesser-known actor, who’s been featured in films like Warrior, as well as TV shows like The Shield and Prison Break. Grillo will next be seen playing cops and robbers in the historical crime film The Gangster Squad this fall.
The Grey had a nice debut in theaters, which means that Carnahan has a bit of clout when it comes to things like picking a leading man for his next film. However, unless the budget of Death Wish stays on the low side, it’s hard to imagine a studio backing the film with an actor like Grillo in the lead – as opposed to, say, Carnahan’s Grey leading man, Liam Neeson. Thankfully, Carnahan has already proven that he can take a low-budget urban tale, and turn it into something worthwhile (see: Narc).
There’s no timetable on when Death Wish will be in theaters. The remake is being produced through Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Production company.