Screenwriter Adam G. Simon took to WTF Nation Radio on Monday to discuss a plethora of topics such as the Oscars, the industry and a number of social issues. The noted Man-Down scribe who had no filter in offering praise for the likes of Fighting helmer Dito Montiel and Man-Down star Shia LeBeouf, also put noted co-scribe and helmer of The Raid reboot, Joe Carnahan in the crosshairs while stating his excitement on the opportunity with hosts Ice And Flash.
“Dude I’m so fuckin’ stoked about this. It’s just so good to be working with great people.” said Simon who spoke of Carnahan and the film’s currently sole attached actor, producer Frank Grillo as “…two of the greatest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of fucking working with.”
The Raid reboot is one of several that Carnahan and Grillo have stirring under their WarParty banner, including Ben Hernandez Bray’s feature debut, El Chicano, and Mel Gibson headliner, Boss Level, with Carnahan currently helming the latter in Georgia. Carnahan made his involvement official more than a year ago prior to ironing out several details about the project, many of which Simon echoes in his interview on Monday evening with specific regard to the film’s more militarized tone set against the backdrop of Caracas in Venezuela.
“Joe just really had this cool jump-off point. Like, this really great idea about making it…” Simon says, adding “You find out in the original ‘Raid’ that these two guys are brothers and it’s kind of like the biproduct of this story. And shifting to kind of making it that central theme…”, in addition to the more internal question that deals with the quandry over why we fight the people we love the most, citing his own stories as well.
“I’ve had some of the biggest knock-down drag-out fights with some of the people that I’ve cared the most about in my life.” he adds.
The film’s approach on behalf of Grillo and Carnahan still tend to be an issue as well, as Simon so suggests here with continued clarity: “It’s not really a remake. Frank says it all the time that it’s like a re-imagining, and it is. We’ve found a way. And I’ll just say this: In any ‘Raid’, you gotta have an extraction.”
With Grillo being the only actor cast thusfar for the last several years in the film’s evolution and the WarParty duo still teasing fans via social media, it’s otherwise still only a matter of time before things can finally kick into high gear; it was last year that Grillo spoke circles around the issue of whether or not his fellow Beyond Skyline cohort Iko Uwais would climb back in the saddle long since shepherding the original franchise as its star for director Gareth Huw Evans in 2011 and 2014.
Per Grillo in 2017:
I did a movie with Iko. I’m friends with Iko. Iko may be in this movie. We don’t know… So Iko and I did a movie in Indonesia last year. It’s a big kind of sci-fi movie, and I don’t know where it’s going to come out, when it’s going to come out, but Iko and I became best friends. We became brothers. And he’s my boy. When he heard this, he reached out to immediately and said, “Is there a place for me in the movie?” This is the guy who originated the role, and was the star in both movies–it’s a film that everyone wants to be involved in, even the guy who is the guy. So maybe. Joe said maybe there’s a world where he’s one of the other guys. Who knows.
No one is spilling the beans just yet, and that includes Simon who teasing the film something fierce as well by the 1:58:36 mark of the podcast: “The thing that I can say is that, it follows the premise of what you can read online – that these guys are trapped in a building, it’s got a military aspect which the original didn’t have. In fact, it’s got a fucking HEAVY military aspect to it. We’re saying something about it, and it’s kind of the story of two brothers and the war we all kind of wage within ourselves. You know, that Black Dog and that Light Dog that we all got within us – that kind of struggle.”
Apparently there were some developments on Monday as well regarding the current version of the script and its approval among all involved, including sales and production outfit XYZ Films who represent Evans’ films internationally: “I’m not here working in this town to be jumping in the ring with some guy who wants to get noticed on the college circuit. I wanna be swinging on heavyweights and Joe’s a heavyweight. So when you submit something, he kicks it back to you. And its all about the story. There’s no ego, there’s no bullshit involved. It’s about ‘How do we make the best product?’. And ‘The Raid’ as it is right now, the script that’s there right now, I talked to XYZ this morning, like everyone is in agreement. This is a film we’d all stand in the rain and the snow to see. It’s action-packed, it’s fucking great.”
Simon also reaffirmed the film’s Caracas setting and “very heavy military component” attached to the story, as well as Grillo’s casting, saying “…Frank’s in it. Frank’s a bad motherfucker too. He’s great. And that’s it.”
Progress on this film is about as close to the chest as it gets. I reckon faces would melt if Uwais was somehow getting thrown in the mix. Evans himself stated on Instagram that he was putting off a third entry and while exact reasons are unclear, this film could be why, as speculatory as it sounds and next to the fact that Carnahan has always insisted he’s had something special planned for the film. And that means something.
There’s a LOT more said about much else by Simon to the hosts, so head over to WTF Nation Radio and listen to the conversation at the 1:07:20 mark (Mentions of The Raid ensue at the 1:48:16 mark).