Gareth Evans may not have his hands on The Raid franchise anymore as he continues forthwith on his own serial endeavors in the U.K. for Corin Hardy’s Gangs Of London. That said, Evans is executive producing the revisal of The Raid currently being shepherded by WarParty’s own Joe Carnahan and screenwriter Adam G. Simon who moved things up another inch on the PR scale when teasing what kind of villain the new interpretation of Evans’ 2011 crowdpleaser would be like with the film set in Caracas, Venezuela.
“His name’s Felix.” says Simon during his half-hour session on A Dose Of Buffa. “And he’s…a little more sophisticated, a little more lethal, a little more intelligent and cunning than what we saw in the original ‘Raid’ with that villain.”; The villain in question is the role of Tama, played phemomenally by Ray Sahetapy for the Indonesian crime original. For those not in the know, Tama was the landlord of the six-story apartment complex our S.W.A.T. unit, prolifically featuring lead actors Iko Uwais and Joe Taslim at the time, was tasked with entering and seizing.
“That guy was kind of, like, unhinged, seeing things coming apart and a very violent, very interesting, very wonderful. I love that villain.”, Simon says. “Our guy would be like, if, sorry to pull on Gary Oldman so much but if Drexel from True Romance had a baby with Gary’s character from Leon: The Professional that was…I don’t know…raised by Jules from Pulp Fiction…[laughter] He’s like…just a bad motherfucker. Very real and very tangible and someone a lot of people can relate to, and not a musctache-twirling bad guy by any stretch of the imagination. He’s got his reasons. Everybody is a hero in their own story. Even the villains. The good ones. Right? Like the really memorable villains believe that what they’re doing is right…”
Simon went on to delve further into the aspect of the story involving the brother element which he noted earlier this year with WTF Nation Radio as a bi-product of the story serving as a ‘cool jump-off point’. “…It’s hinted at in a really beautiful way and I love it and enjoy it.” he says. “But we kind of make this struggle of the brothers the central focal point of the film which I think is really cool–at least at this stage, you know, in the script stage. Because what you put on the page also evolves once you get set, once you work with actors, once you work with fight coordinators and all that stuff. But the central themes–like if I was pitchin’ this motherfucker, I would say it’s Warrior meets Black Hawk Down in a high-rise. That’s really what it is, but it’s also an examination of why do we fight the people who we love the most? Like why do we have the most knock-down, drag-out fights with the people we care about the most?”
Simon also reaffirmed the script’s identity as a reimagining over “remake” or “reboot”, continuing the narrative that’s been set forth in the past year as producers – actor Frank Grillo and director Joe Carnahan – began pounding the pavement in early 2017 to get the messaging right. The Man Down scribe also asserted the script went through multiple drafts and that all else seems pretty much on the right track when it comes to all parties involved.
“Joe’s a monster of a writer.” he says “He’s one of the best. And I think we’ve made something really special. It’s gonna be awesome. It’s gonna be fuckin’ great dude.”
Grillo, who next appears in Netflix doc, Fight World, on October 12, just recently started in WarParty’s latest production with Gaumont and Mayhem helmer Joe Lynch for a reimagining of Fred Cavayè’s Point Blank. The Raid is next in line to go into production in January following a press announcement last month.
WarParty’s current prospects now lie firstly with November (TBA) theatrical release with feature debut director Ben Bray’s milestone vigilante superhero thriller, El Chicano. Following that will be the theatrical release of Carnahan’s Boss Level from Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios and also starring Mel Gibson and Michelle Yeoh.
FP: XYZ Films