THE RAID: Carnahan, Grillo Dish The Details For Their Vision, Motivation, Risks And More


Yes, that is the movie that War Party duo, Frank Grillo and director Joe Carnahan are setting out to remaster with their own vision. It's been an epicenter of much brouhaha for many a fan who already think that the 2011 Iko Uwais-led starrer and its sequel from director Gareth Huw Evans is enough with a third pending and a fanbase this apprehensive toward anything they love like The Raid being remade in any capacity is likely hard to please.

Seriously. Just go on any chatboard or any Facebook group where fans gather to discuss the upcoming re-imagining of the hit action film and you will find yourself amid some of the most stubbon fans you'll ever see. It's a fun conversation at that, really, but it's also important to highlight some specific points about just what the heck is going on about The Raid under War Party's watch alongside the original films' producers over at XYZ Films, the same banner pushing out Headshot to the U.S. this year.

Thus, after officially breaking the news a little over a week ago, Carnahan sat down with Collider's Steven Weintraub to lay out some specifics. Among the topics he and Grillo discuss regarding the film, the following quotes shed some light the current vision and their intentions toward the story, as well as respond to fans hammering on about the alleged futility of Carnahan's efforts in the first place, which brings mention later on to the hopeful inclusion of the original star of the films, Iko Uwais, in some capacity.

Following Weintraub's introduction, Carnahan delves into the mindset of our main protagonists which he and Grillo emphasize will be the main core of the story in the film later on in the interview.

Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan
JOE CARNAHAN: What Frank and I both cotton to is this idea of special operators. Special forces operation guys often times like football players. They’re never 100%. Soft tissue damage in their hands, radial fractures, knees are shot, this and that. So this idea you’re catching a guy who is compelled to go after his brother after he just got his ass kicked in a completely different operation. You’re getting a guy who’s like the walking wounded. So you’re immediately plugging in to this very mortal, very human, everybody’s been hurt, everybody’s tweaked their back; in fact, more people have an affinity and an understanding of that situation than being this completely physically fit monster that doesn’t feel pain.They see their characters not as indestructible martial arts masters, but more in the mold of special ops soldiers or football players. Specifically, these guys play hurt. No one is at 100%. They’re all dealing with injury, they tape it up, rub some dirt on it, play at 80%, and go do their job. 
》When you have these kinds of characters, the complexion of the movie changes. For Carnahan and Grillo, they want the entire film to feel like the “knife fight between Adam Goldberg and the German in Saving Private Ryan.” They want that knock-down, drag-out, deeply uncomfortable brutality. 
CARNAHAN: There’s a level of brutality, a level of violence. If our movie felt like the knife fight between Adam Goldberg and the German in Saving Private Ryan the entirety of the movie, then we’ve done exactly what we need to do. Something that grueling and tough. 
FRANK GRILLO: You want to look away but you can’t.
As for the fans, Weintraub gets just the answers he needs with regard to the purpose Carnahan and Grillo see in readapting the film.
GRILLO: Many Americans, most Americans, have never seen The Raid before. 
CARNAHAN: By the way, Smokin’ Aces is about an assault on a penthouse with a bunch of crazy people fighting their way up to the top.  That was six years before The Raid was made.  So it’s not like these are things that don’t interest me. I can show you a pattern. I dig that kind of an idea. 
GRILLO: And I’ll tell you something that bothers me.  When people say you’re doing to do “The Hollywood Version” of The Raid– 
CARNAHAN: Or whitewash it. 
GRILLO: First of all, we’re not the Hollywood version of anything. We come through the back door all the time. I’m not Tom Cruise. I’m not the Hollywood version.  I’m not knocking Tom Cruise, but he’s Tom Cruise. He gets to do whatever he wants. So my point is we don’t have to do this. We can do anything we want to do. We want to do this because there’s something we see that we want to show to American audiences, and audiences globally. Many people have not seen The Raid. 
CARNAHAN: Among cinephiles, it’s a beloved film. But people in Des Moines, Iowa have not seen The Raid.
The two also go on to highlight that they had a two-hour conversation with Evans who directed Uwais's 2009 film debut, Merantau, before he gave them his blessing, telling them “Go make your version. I want to see your version... “I’m most excited to see what you guys are going to do with it.”. Moreover, the film is budgeted at $20 million dollars and Grillo, who will star in the film, and Carnahan, serving as writer and director, are not getting paid any money up front for their efforts to reboot the film - meaning that they are working from a speculative script and will only make money on backends if the film makes money.

On where the film takes place and the central narrative of the film an its heroes:

Sony Pictures Classics
CARNAHAN: [It’s set in] Caracas. Because Caracas is a madhouse. It’s almost like a safehouse for bad guys, like they built this block in Caracas because this is where you come to do business and no one will fuck with you. Because it’s such a dangerous place, nobody wants to go in there. Again, it’s heightening elements of The Raid that were already there, I’m taking these story elements and kind of weaponizing them. Just giving them a shot of steroids, because again everything is about zagging—where The Raid zigged, we’ll zag. 
》But in addition to the action, Carnahan has zeroed his focus on the heart of the film, which is a story of two brothers: 
CARNAHAN: It’s a very different relationship with the brothers, because their father is a very centrifugal figure in this thing. Without getting too deep into it it’s all about the idea that a man is able to create the version of himself that surpasses himself, but one of them sees him for what he really is which is not this world beater. It’s the opposite of—you know Liam Neeson has that line in The Grey of “My dad saw weakness everywhere,” it’s that guy, but he is weak. So the argument between these two brothers, the split between them, is about their dad. He built these things that are superior and that are real soldiers, but he’s not that. You bought that line, I didn’t buy that line. I went my way and you went your way.
On Uwais's involvement, Grillo speaka on behalf of his Beyond Skyline co-star:
GRILLO: 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.
On the aforementioned budget and pay:
CARNAHAN: We’re going to do this for under $20 million, which is about as down and dirty as you can get, but there’s no studio. It’s us.
Carnahan is currently writing the script to get the film going as soon as possible while he readies Bad Boys For Life and what ComingSoon.net exclusively broke on Wednesday as what the director's treatment will hopefully go through as an ambitious, fowl-mouthed, action-packed, crazy R-rated live-action adaptation of the Naughty Dog game. Time will eventually tell how Carnahan's treatment of The Raid will appear but I have to emphasize that this director has yet to let me down when it comes to his films. Smoking Aces, Stretch, Narc and even his adaptation of TV classic, The A-Team were all pretty neat in my book and I highly recommend (and won't ever stop recommending) people to check out Stretch as its one of the coolest underdog adventure comedy thrill rides you'll ever see.

That said, I don't take Evans for a fool when it comes to the idea of anyone remaking or rebooting his films. Besides, Screen Gems got those rights years ago and now that those rights belong to War Party with the help of XYZ and Evans's blessing as stated earlier, and with the fact that there are not a lot of people who have seen the original Indonesian crime pic (they're not really wrong there), advancing the film on a more self-reliant means for a more amplified push toward English-speaking audiences seems like a fruitful way to go. And, if it means another martial arts movie for the rest of us anyway, why complain?

I can't wait to see who gets cast for this, let alone Uwais's hopeful addition; he's still filming The Night Comes For Us in reunion with The Raid original film's co-star Joe Taslim, and is slated to work on Triple Threat this year with Tony Jaa and Tiger Chen.

A post shared by Joe Carnahan (@carnojoe) on

Head over to Collider.com to read Weintraub's full interview with Carnahan and Grillo and feel free to share your thoughts!

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