The moment Frank Grillo and writer-director Joe Carnahan threw their support behind an English-language version of The Raid, Gareth Evans’ modern action classic, both parties were quick to stress that they’ve envisioned a “reimagining of the same scenario” as opposed to a by-the-numbers remake.
After getting the blessing of Evans himself – he’ll produce Grillo and Carnahan’s new take – The Raid is finally beginning to take strides toward production at XYZ Films, and Collider caught up with the creative duo recently to discuss the film’s budget, its setting and why a full-blown assault on a penthouse teeming with goons isn’t as original as you might think. After all, Joe Carnahan is the creative mind behind Smokin’ Aces, and the director will no doubt tap into that experience – not to mention his time spent behind the lens on The Grey and The A-Team – when crafting this new version of Gareth Evans’ Indonesian masterclass.
To begin, Joe Carnahan discussed how he and Grillo came attached to The Raid in the first place, and what it means to follow a character that is relentless in his pursuit of justice.
“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.”
Where will The Raid be shot? Caracas, Venezuela, according to Carnahan, as he looks to “heighten elements of The Raid that were already here.”
“[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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Frank Grillo touched on the possibility of Iko Uwais, lead star of The Raid and its hardboiled sequel Berandal cropping up for a cameo – “who knows!” he said – before Carnahan stressed his desire for a quick turnaround on their reimagining.
“I mean listen, [we’re doing it] as soon as possible. We have to always, Frank and I, we have to act as though the thing that we’re talking about doing now we’re doing next. And I’m writing the script right now, so I want it to go ASAP.”
The Raid is officially a go over at XYZ Films. Upon reading through Grillo and Carnahan’s comments, tell us, what are your thoughts on their creative vision? Let us know in the usual spot.