Joe Carnahan to write and direct a remake of Bronson classic Death Wish


Could’ve sworn just a few days ago, when talking to him at the junket for “The Grey”, that Joe Carnahan suggested he’ll be staying away from big-studio franchisey things that’d get him sneers and projectile-spat-at from now on.

Carnahan, whose Liam Neeson survivalist thriller opened to big numbers at the box office this past weekend, said if his last big studio pic “A-Team” hadn’t flopped he’d never have gotten to make “The Grey” – he’d be stuck doing unoriginal, franchise pics. Moreso, the filmmaker suggested that he copped so much flack for doing something like an “A-Team” movie that the whole experience left him with a sour taste in his mouth. As such, he’s going to try and concentrate on doing more meaningful, original projects like “The Grey” up.

When he spoke to Moviehole, Carnahan said his next project will likely be the Pablo Escobar biopic (“Killing Pablo”) that he’s been toying with for a while, and if it comes together, he might even make a low-budget, Canadian-lensed follow-up to his crooked cops epic “Narc”. By all accounts, he was now a serious filmmaker.

Then today, 24 Frames reported that Carnahan is writing and directing a remake of “Death Wish” – a movie that would go onto becoming one of the most unyielding franchises of our times.

Yes, that original film was based on a book, but it’s unarguably more famous for it’s Charles Bronson-led movie series (that got crapper and more ludicrous with each sequel). The studio knows that. They want a remake of an action classic – not another interpretation of the book. It’s brand, brand, brand.

Now it’s possible that the deal came together quickly, and was solidified after this weekend’s terrific takings for “The Grey”, but I dare say this “Death Wish” remake is something Carnahan’s had several meetings on over the past couple of months. Not to say Carnahan isn’t a good choice for “Death Wish”, just that his comments about staying away from franchisey, unoriginal material would seem null and void. After all, even with a spiffy new script, how original can the whole “Death Wish” template be? That whole one-man-army revenge thriller genre has been beaten like Tina Turner after a blunder concert.

Forgetting all that though, would the director of “Narc” and “A-Team” be able to make a kick-ass, gritty, tense “Death Wish” film? I’m sure of it. And I look forward to seeing what he comes up with. But how about casting the thing, right – and staying away from the more obvious choices like Jason Statham and Gerard Butler? I dare say Carnahan’s already thinking of Neeson for the lead role (Of course he is!), and he’d be perfect, but he’s also worked with a barrage of older, veteran actors that’d also fit Kersey – someone like Andy Garcia, from Carnahan’s “Smokin’ Aces”, or even Ray Liotta, who shone in “Narc”?

A “Death Wish” remake has been on the cards for years now. At one stage Sylvester Stallone wanted to direct and play Paul Kersey, but he changed his mind when his fans reacted negatively to the news of him rebooting the Bronson classic. How will Carnahan devotees react to the news?

What say you, guys?