Collider reports with confirmation that actor Frank Grillo (Donnybrook, Beyond Skyline) will star in director Joe Carnahan‘s upcoming redo of Gareth Huw Evans’ 2011 crime hit, The Raid. It’s worth noting since the IMDb page for the project has seen the actor’s name come and go while development on the project remained underwraps for the last four years.
The report also cites new and specific details on the role Grillo will play in leading the cast under the stewardship of WarParty Films where he also produces the film next to filmmaker Joe Carnahan who will direct the movie.
“You meet Frank’s character having just rotated back from a really, really, brutal special forces operation.” says Carnahan. “He’s got soft tissue damage in his hands, and his rotator cuff is blown out, and they take fluid off his knees, and the doctors basically tell him, ‘Listen you’re at the razor’s edge of PTSD and you need three months of just nothing, some R&R, because you’re jacked up.’ And in that space he gets the message that his brother, who he thought had been dead for four years, is actually alive and working for a very bad guy in Caracas, and in 18 hours they’re gonna kill his brother. These forces are gonna descend and murder the bad guy and murder the brother, so do you wanna go and get your brother, who you thought is dead? Do you want that opportunity? So that’s where we start.”
This pretty much lines up with much of what Carnahan teased in previously headlines, as has screenwriter Adam G. Simon who recently described the film for us as “a simple, human story told in an epic setting.” Simon himself had been pounding the pavement in the past year and change sharing some insight on various podcast outlets, including on Dan Buffa’s A Dose Of Buffa last October about the villain, “Felix”.
“If [Drexl] 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.” says Simom, citing Gary Oldman’s Drexl Spivey character in Tony Scott’s 1993 Christian Slater crime pic, True Romance. “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…”
Quotes from Carnahan at Collider continued with more on the envisioned tone and nature of the new film: “I want the entire movie to feel like the knife fight between Adam Goldberg and the German in Saving Private Ryan. Everything. In every great action film there’s always an emotional quotient that you’re dealing with… You have to have a sense of stakes. For all of the tremendous excess of those last two Matrix films, which I enjoyed the hell out of, they never really got to the tension of just Keanu Reeves trying to answer a phone at the end of the first movie. There was great pathos, there was a great sense of, ‘Is he gonna make it?’ The spectacle I think outweighs the heart and soul of it, and that’s what you have to remember is you’ve gotta have that attached.”
Production was previously announced for the start of January while the Collider report newly confirms some possible forward mobility in the next few weeks. For that matter, it’s also worth noting that this project was never dead to begin with as some reporters following up on this update on other sites have insisted. It was hampered at best, but never dead.
The Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes was once tapped to direct until Screen Gems who acquired the rights eight years ago and maintained development until 2014 with Grillo attached. By 2015, Hughes left, though development still remained in hands of XYZ Films until a few years later when Grillo and partner took it under their wing at WarParty. Evans, who directed both hit films that featured Iko Uwais among a number of Southeast Asian martial arts screen talents who’ve proliferated on both sides of the pond to date, serves as one of the executive producers.
Carnahan’s interview was part of an effort to spotlight his latest producing feat on longtime partner Ben Bray’s own directorial debut, superhero vigilante thriller El Chicano which opens in theaters on May 3 from Briarcliff Entertainment. Grillo himself arrives back in theaters this August in Carnahan’s next explosive actioner, Boss Level, from Entertainment Studios and MoviePass Films.
Simon, who wrote WarParty’s upcoming Point Blank for director Joe Lynch’s pending Netflix release, will take the reigns later this year when he launches his directorial debut on revenge thriller, Raguel, later this year.