Who better than Liam Neeson to help a bunch of industrial roughnecks survive rouge wolves and the Alaskan wilderness? He handled “hostile negotiations” with European black market traffickers just fine in Taken and the challenge his character will face in The Grey should be a walk in the park for Zeus himself.

Director Joe Carnahan’s low-budget thriller, The Grey, has at last been officially greenlit and will reunite him with his A-Team star Neeson, instead of Bradley Cooper.

Neeson, Dallas Roberts (3:10 to Yuma), James Badge Dale (The Departed), Dermot Mulroney (Zodiac), Frank Grillo (Edge of Darkness), Nonso Anozie (Conan the Barbarian), and Joe Anderson (Breaking Dawn :-P) will play oil-rig workers in Carnahan’s tale of survival under the harshest of conditions. The Grey finds all seven of those characters left stranded in the frozen Alaskan tundra after their plane crashes – right smack in the middle of the hunting zone for a group of rogue wolves.

Deadline says that The Grey is set to begin production next week, with filming taking place on location in the Northern British Columbia region in Vancouver. Carnahan will employ an economical approach to his directing (fewer takes, faster-paced shooting) as he is working on an indie movie budget and hopes to collect all the footage he needs in 40 days.

Carnahan penned the Grey script as well and says that he intends to deliver a lean, mean, man vs. nature flick in the vein of Deliverance and Touching The Void – as opposed to a more stylized affair like his Smokin’ Aces or a bigger-budgeted (and explosive set piece) film similar to The A-Team.

Neeson takes the lead in 'The A-Team'.

While for some readers Carnahan may be synonymous with mindless overblown action because of The A-Team (which was still arguably the best team-oriented action flick released last year), a sizable chunk of his work has involved smaller-budgeted, character-driven fare. The filmmaker jump-started his career with the gritty crime thriller Narc back in 2002 and he wrote but did not direct the Edward Norton/Colin Farrell police family drama Pride and Glory as well.

The Grey could end up being a forgettable thriller, but it also has the potential to be an intense adventure that pits a pack of macho-type men against the harshest of natural conditions and a horde of hungry wolves whose territory has been violated. We’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.

Production on The Grey is scheduled to begin next week so the film could end up reaching theaters by the end of 2011.

Source: Deadline