Joe Carnahan still have plans for his abandoned Death Wish script
MGM's remake of Charles Bronson's DEATH WISH has certainly had its ups and downs over the years; Joe Carnahan (THE GREY) was originally tapped to write and direct the remake, but when the studio began pushing for a more action-oriented story as well as putting Bruce Willis in the lead role, Carnahan walked, but not before sending off a rather harshly worded e-mail to MGM president Jonathan Glickman. Carnahan was then replaced by Gerardo Naranjo but the project remained in development hell for a couple of years. Enter Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado (BIG BAD WOLVES) as the new directors of the DEATH WISH remake and everything seemed to be on track, until they too departed citing creative differences. Yeesh.
Eli Roth eventually took over and the film has been shooting in both Chicago and Montreal since late September. It seems that the production is using a version of Carnahan's script, but the director recently spoke with Collider to say that he still has plans for his original script.
It’s being shot right now, they’re off shooting a version of that script with Bruce Willis, I think in Montreal, maybe Chicago? I’m not sure. It’s, you know, if you don’t have something nice to say, you probably shouldn’t say it. I got a glimpse of that script, that was reported to be kind of a re-engineering of my script, and I would be less than hospitable if I commented on that. And whatever, I think they’re gonna get exactly what they want, and that wasn’t what I was interested in doing, and bully to them for sticking their guns, and I’m content to stick to mine, and that script will live to fight another day. That’s what I’m gonna look forward to, because it’s so radically different from what I did that I’m confident I can rework that into something just as good as it is on the page. It’s really a great script, man.
As Joe Carnahan's script is quite different from Roth's DEATH WISH film, the director firmly believes that there's a way for him to transform it into a non-DEATH WISH film with a much different feel.
I think I’ll wait a few years and explore that, because I believe that it’s, in terms of that genre and revenge vigilante, I just thought it was so cool. And it’s set in a completely different place. A big part of mine was where it was set, which is L.A. It wasn’t cold weather, it wasn’t a Chicago or New York film, it was an L.A. film, and it was much more of a Michael Mann kind of world, Collateral kind of world, than it was the original Bronson. And I think they’re going back to something that hews more closely to that, which is fine, but I’ll be interested to see what it does and what the reception is.
I would have loved to have seen Joe Carnahan's take on DEATH WISH, but apparently MGM believes that we want to see Bruce Willis sleep-walking his way through yet another action/revenge thriller; but, as we've yet to have seen any footage from the remake, I'll continue to keep my fingers crossed. As for Carnahan, he's currently busy prepping the third BAD BOYS movie with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence as well as scripting UNCHARTED for Shawn Levy.