Charles Bronson had appeared in films such as The Dirty Dozen and The Mechanic prior to his turn in Death Wish, but it was that 1974 revenge thriller that is said to have truly cemented his reputation as an onscreen deadly force of nature - not to mention, kicked off four sequels released over the course of two decades, with Bronson reprising his role as the vigilante Paul Leonard Kersey, in each installment.
Sylvester Stallone gave some thought to directing and starring in a Death Wish franchise reboot back in 2006, but those plans ultimately failed to pan out. Jump to the present and co-developers MGM/Paramount are reportedly hiring on The Grey writer/director Joe Carnahan to handle the project instead.
24 Frames has been informed by a reliable source "familiar with the project" that Carnahan is up to hold the reins on the Death Wish franchise revamping, which will be produced by his The Grey collaborator Jules Daly, along with Ridley and Tony Scott (through their Scott Free Productions banner). However, there's no official word yet on the planned timetable for the project.
The original Death Wish movie is loosely based on the novel of the same name, by author Brian Garfield. While several plot and character details were changed during the jump from written to cinematic form, the basic setup for both the Death Wish book and film alike are the same - namely, a prosperous family man becomes a vengeance-fueled street warrior after his wife and daughter are attacked by muggers, who murder the former and sexually assault the latter, leaving her in a catatonic state.
Seeing how many upcoming reboots of older film titles based on literature (Total Recall, Logan's Run, etc.) are being trumped up as more novel re-interpretations - rather than strict movie remakes - it's certainly possible that Carnahan will likewise go back to the drawing board with Death Wish (ie. primarily draw inspiration from Garfield's novel).
As for who will play the new screen incarnation of Paul Kersey - no names are being seriously bandied about just yet, but Carnahan's A-Team and The Grey leading man (Liam Neeson) is the no-brainer choice. Whether or not the Taken star will want to tread on very familiar territory with the Death Wish reboot, though, that is another matter.
Death Wish does qualify as "fair game" for a remake/reboot, going by our Top 5 Remake Rules list. More so, it features what reads a a pretty generic plot setup for a revenge thriller - enough so that most people probably won't really think of the film as being a remake, in anything other than name.
Grisly action tales revolving around morally-dubious characters are Carnahan's specialty (see: Narc, Smokin' Aces), so he's certainly as qualified as just about anyone to rework Death Wish as a stylishly gritty thriller for the 21st century. Should the filmmaker also manage to secure someone of Neeson's stature as leading man, most movie fans will likely have little to no qualm when it comes to supporting this particular remake/reboot/re-whatever.
We will keep you updated on the new Death Wish as the story develops.
Source: LA Times
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