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UPDATE: Carnahan will write the film exclusively for actor Frank Grillo, who starred in The Grey. The film will be set in L.A. Here's what Carnahan had to say on Twitter:
Guys. I’m doing ‘Death Wish.’ But this version is a re-imagining of the book and set in present day Los Angeles. The L.A. of ‘Collateral.’ It’s on buses, cabs, metro trains. I want to show an unseen version of L.A. L.A. on foot. Prowling. Hunting. The vast emptiness of downtown. … Refn did a phenomenal job shooting L.A. It took on a different dimension. That’s the key. … The only role I’m writing in ‘Death Wish’ which will mark the ONE time I’ve ever written exclusively for an actor, will be for @FrankGrillo.
Last Friday’s The Grey was about staying alive in the wilderness; now its director will have to survive the concrete jungle. MGM and Paramount have hired Joe Carnahan to write and direct a remake of Death Wish.
The original Death Wish premiered in 1974 and featured Charles Bronson in his iconic role as vigilante Paul Kersey. Following a violent assault on his family, Kersey devotes himself to dealing indiscriminate death to city hoodlums.
The "Death Wish" franchise lasted five entries over two decades, something producer Tony Scott will no doubt hope to repeat by attaching his Scott Free Productions to the picture as he did with The Grey. The most recent plan for a Death Wish remake came in 2006 with Sylvester Stallone attached, but nothing came of the project.
The news comes from a source close to the project, according to the LATimes blog. The big question on everyone’s mind is whether Carnahan’s name will attract a third collaboration with Liam Neeson, who led The Grey to a solid $20-million opening this weekend. Neeson has the physicality for the role (Bronson was also in his '50s when filming the original), and with his recent action-oriented work, he would seem a perfect fit. Neeson is currently filming the sequel to his 2009 hit Taken.