Joe Carnahan Says ‘Death Wish’ Is NOT A Remake

Published 2 years ago by , Updated September 5th, 2012 at 9:08 am,

joe carnahan death wish remake Joe Carnahan Says Death Wish Is NOT A Remake

Hollywood re-adaptations struggle to avoid the “dreaded” remake/reboot label nowadays – even when filmmakers go to lengths to emphasize their project is a pure re-interpretation (see: David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Joe Carnahan’s learning that lesson right now, with his developing Death Wish.

Brian Garfield’s Death Wish novel previously gave rise to the iconic 1970s Charles Bronson vigilante thriller and its subsequent sequels. Following initial reports of Carnahan’s involvement, we speculated the filmmaker – who was director on such grisly action-dramas as Narc and The Grey, as well as the central screenwriter for the gritty cop tale Pride and Glory – would be drawing inspiration primarily from Garfield’s source material – not the violent Bronson film(s).

Carnahan confirmed our suspicions a day later (literally), describing Death Wish as a “re-imagining of the book.” Apparently, the filmmaker’s announcement did not have the intended effect – that is, convince the cinema-loving masses that he is not looking to Michael Winner’s 1974 film adaptation for guidance – as Carnahan has since Tweeted the following:

Guys, for the record and so I don’t have to answer this question a billion goddamn times. ‘DEATH WISH’ is NOT a remake. At all, in ANY way.

Winner took liberties with Garfield’s Death Wish source material, but retained the core premise – where a loving family man becomes a vengeful street warrior after some thugs assault his wife and daughter. Carnahan is likewise changing things up by shifting the proceedings from 1970s New York to contemporary Los Angeles; beyond that, though, it’s not clear where, exactly, Carnahan plans to take the story that Winner did not before.

death wish remake charles bronson Joe Carnahan Says Death Wish Is NOT A Remake

Charles Bronson headlined the original ‘Death Wish’

Garfield’s Death Wish takes its time chronicling protagonist Paul’s evolution from a timid law-abider – into a man who takes matters into his own hands, when the attack on his loved ones forced him to re-evaluate his views. Winner’s film, by comparison, re-envisions Paul as a war vet who’s better prepared to go on a justified-killing spree, which he does much more quickly than in Garfield’s novel.

Carnahan could favor Garfield’s character study over Winner’s approach. The filmmaker has indicated as much, with his expressed desire to capture “the vast emptiness of downtown [LA]“ that proved captivating in Michael Mann’s Collateral – and, more recently, Drive. Moreover, Death Wish provides Carnahan a chance to infuse some retro style (similar to Drive), now that his planned Daredevil reboot with a 1970s vibe has collapsed.

Of course, covering familiar territory always stirs up controversy, no matter how much a filmmaker insists they are traveling a different path – so don’t expect this to be the end of the remake debate for Carnahan’s project.

More on Death Wish as the story develops.

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Source: Joe Carnahan

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  1. Sounds like what somebody making a remake would say

    • didn’t Keviin Bacon just do this? Jesus man, remaking movies within a decade is pretty pathetic…

      • That was Death Sentence, not Death Wish. The stories and execution are very different.

        • The Kevin Bacon movie is actually based on the sequel to the book Death Wish.

        • The only reason the stories are different is because they did what this guy intends to do, which is change some things around. Craig is correct that Bacon’s film is based on the sequel to the Death Wish novel. I actually liked that film, but I’m not so sure about the proposal to move the setting to LA. I always felt these people just make production decisions like that to separate theirs from any preceding entries, but it’s so obvious that it just comes off as a cheap move.

  2. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

  3. Yeah, that’s what a remake is– another version or adaptation of something.

    Not sure when Hollywood decided that the definition of the word remake is only a very literal re-telling of a previous film version.

    Maybe if there weren’t so many remakes being made, the creatives and suits wouldn’t be so sensitive and trying to argue so much about how their version is going to have a different voice to it. Look, it’s an established story. But you’re going to do your all-new-and-different-never-before-imagined-interpretation, or conversely the-film-version-that-really-captures-the-book-like-it-never-has-been-before. Just go do it and then show it to us and we’ll see if it’s any good, and if it is, we’ll like it. And stop worrying so much about being a beautiful and unique snowflake.

    If you really cared, you wouldn’t be making a remake in the first place. And if it really does capture the source material like never before, or you find some amazingly fresh, vital new angle to it, people will be a lot more impressed if they see it without a year-long whiny marketing campaign preceding it.

  4. Broccoli.

  5. Readaptation means another take on the source material which means its a remake.
    Remakes are getting such bad press recently, and deservedly so, that these guys will go to any lengths to distance their project from the word.

    And it will be judged on the original and even it is good, like the Dragon Tattoo remake, it will still be pointless and unnecessary.

  6. First off that picture of Bronson is from DW3, not the first one. And second, why are they remaking this in the first place? Get some new ideas Hollywood!!! They Killed the Giggler MAN!! THE GIGGLER!

    • My apologies, I corrected that photo label.

  7. You see, it is different because it is set in the present rather than the past. Only thing is, when it was previously made, it was set in what was then the present but is now the past. What a load of horse apples.