Last month, production on the proposed remake/reboot of Death Wish stalled out when director Joe Carnahan (The Grey) left the project. Citing disputes with Paramount executives over casting and the overall creative direction of the film, Carnahan left the production rudderless.
Rather than let the potentially lucrative project go under, it looks as if the film's producers wasted no time in locating Carnahan's replacement. Rather than go with another big-name talent, the production has selected Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo to settle into Death Wish's empty director's chair.
Variety has the scoop that Naranjo is in negotiations to take the reins of the upcoming Death Wish remake. Naranjo is best-known for 2011's crime-thriller Miss Bala, in which an aspiring beauty queen (Stephanie Sigman) becomes embroiled in the machinations of a ruthless drug cartel. While somewhat critically divisive, Miss Bala did get attention for its bold style and queasily no-nonsense depiction of drug-related violence. Before Miss Bala, Naranjo directed the dramas Voy a Explotar and Drama/Mex. He is currently filming the pilot episode of FX's upcoming border-country crime series, The Bridge.
The original Death Wish debuted in 1974 and starred Charles Bronson (Once Upon a Time in the West) as an architect driven to wreak vigilante justice against street criminals after his wife's murder. A huge hit in its day, the movie eventually lead to a slew of sequels released over the course of almost two decades (including the spectacularly ridiculous Death Wish 3, a true must-see for all lovers of over-the-top cheese cinema).
The choice of Naranjo makes sense, given that he's considered an up-and-coming talent. He's certainly proved his ability to direct down-and-dirty crime material with Miss Bala. From the standpoint of the studio, hiring a less-established director will put them in a better position to shape the film. If Naranjo manages to make Death Wish into a proper blockbuster, this will be his chance to truly break out into the Hollywood scene. As such, he will probably be less resistant to the demands of executives when it comes to casting.
Before he departed the production of Death Wish, Carnahan insisted that his intended film would not be a remake of the original Bronson flick. Instead, the new Death Wish would be a reimagined adaptation of the 1972 novel by Brian Garfield. Since Naranjo is supposedly working from the same script developed by Carnahan, it will be interesting to see if he will continue that approach – only with a studio-approved actor like Bruce Willis. We'll definitely be watching what's shaping up to be an interesting production.
Death Wish has no set release date, but we at Screen Rant will keep you apprised of all the gritty details as its production commences.