EXCLUSIVE: The weekend is already shaping up nicely for Joe Carnahan, the director of the Liam Neeson survival thriller "The Grey" which is poised to take the box-office crown.
Now Carnahan has landed a new gig: He's being hired to write and direct a remake of "Death Wish," the 1974 vigilante picture that helped put Charles Bronson on the map, according to a person familiar with the project who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak about it publicly.
MGM and Paramount are developing the film, which will reboot Michael Winner's box-office hit. The original starred Bronson as Paul Kersey, a liberal architect who morphs into an assassin after his wife and daughter are brutally attacked. Bronson's character then undertakes a one-man mission to hurt and kill a host of criminals on the streets of New York. The movie was a cultural phenomenon of sorts, helping birth the modern action movie and also provoking criticism for its intense violence.
Four sequels were made over the course of the next two decades, with the franchise eventually running out of steam in 1994. Sylvester Stallone came on at one point to attempt a reboot of the original but the project got stuck in development about five years ago.
The new "Death Wish" will be produced by "The Grey" producer Jules Daly along with Ridley and Tony Scott's Scott Free Prods. An MGM spokeswoman and a Carnahan representative did not immediately have a comment.
"The Grey" features an outlaw theme of its own, as a group of survivalists in the Alaskan wilderness must fend off a dangerous pack of wolves. Carnahan previously wrote and directed another notable reboot, "The A-Team," and was also behind the 2006 mob action film "Smokin' Aces" in 2010. Carnahan was also set to direct the upcoming drama "Umbra" before recently falling off.
Under the leadership team of Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, MGM has been developing a slate of library titles, many of them classics from a few decades ago such as "Robocop" and "War Games."
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Charles Bronson in "Death Wish." Credit: MGM/Paramount