Whether you like it or not, The Raid: Redemption is getting the remake treatment over at Sony’s Screen Gems division, and production is set to start shooting later rather than sooner following a four month production delay. Ostensibly, the studio has the train held up at the station to wrangle the right on-screen talent to compliment the people behind the lens, from fledgling director Patrick Hughes (the helmer on impending action bonanza The Expendables 3) to screenwriter Brad Ingsley (forthcoming Liam Neeson vehicle Run All Night).

But who to hire to star in an adaptation of a movie that’s populated almost exclusively with bona fide martial artists? Originally, Screen Gems threw around the word “Hemsworth” a bit, but their more recently teased shortlist made no mention of the Aussie sibling trio and instead dropped names ranging from Ethan Hawke to Captain America: The Winter Soldier‘s Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo. Quite a turnabout, that, and a surprisingly healthy ratio of veterans to relative newcomers, too.

More importantly, that shortlist happens to be accurate, as Grillo just recently revealed to We Got This Covered that he’s been brought on to play a part in The Raid: Redemption Redux. (If Screen Gems has a twist on the title to distinguish it from Gareth Evans’ original film, they’re holding it in reserve.) Speaking in an interview about his role in July’s horror sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, Grillo took a moment to talk turkey about his martial arts resume, casually dropping a line about Hughes’ film to go along with it. Here’s the full quote from Grillo:

What people don’t know is that I’m a blackbelt in jujitsu, which I’ve been for 20 years, and I’ve been boxing since I’ve been 15 years old – those are things that come natural to me. Believe it or not, I just got hired to do [the remake of] The Raid…I loved [the original]…we’ve got to do this justice. It’s a fanboy favorite.

Grillo’s words should allay the primary anxiety fans likely have about The Raid remake: the lack of authenticity. Evans’ film put lifelong practitioners of the Indonesian martial discipline pencak silat at its forefront, showcasing their skills in extended sequences of kinetically shot, hyper violent hand to hand carnage; it’s the kind of movie that could only be made outside of Hollywood, one that doesn’t skimp on mayhem and backs up its brutality with credibility.

Taking that conceit and shipping over to US shores potentially means losing the element that made The Raid successful to begin with. But if Screen Gems has people like Grillo in their sights – people who know their way around a fight and boast serious acting chops – maybe there’s less cause for concern. For those unfamiliar with his work, Grillo has been tearing it up in movies for twenty two years; credit his recent uptick in visibility to appearances in movies like Warrior, The Grey, and End of Watch. The fact that he isn’t a bigger star already is kind of a mystery.

So The Raid remake has opted for a thespian who packs a literal and metaphoric punch. If everything else about the film sounds suspect – even Hughes’ proposed changes to the backdrop of the original – then Grillo’s casting is nothing but good news (though it’s worth noting that he doesn’t elaborate at all in regards to whether he’s playing a hero or a heavy).

We’ll keep you updated on developments for The Raid: Redemption remake as they’re made available.

Source: We Got This Covered