After taking the reins from Ethan Hawke in the lead role of The Purge: Anarchy last year, it’s fair to say that Frank Grillo made an impression as the no-nonsense sergeant Leo Barnes. In fact, the 50-year-old made such an impression that, as /Film learned in a recent interview, his decision to reprise his role for The Purge 3 may have effectively prevented the threequel from slipping toward development hell.
Before the Captain America: Civil War star committed to the project last week, it’s understood that there was no script in place for The Purge 3.
“They didn’t have a script,” Grillo said. “They just called and said, ‘Would you be interested if we had a great script?’ DeMonaco called and said, ‘If it’s with you, I’ll do it.’ He and Universal came up with this, he’s wonderful at this. He wrote a script. I didn’t think it would be better but I think it’s better than the second one.”
While it’s likely that Universal was hedging its bets before producing a screenplay for the psychological horror, it’s interesting to note Grillo’s burgeoning star power and just how important the actor is to the future of The Purge franchise. During the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Grillo revealed that he was taken by surprise when writer/director James DeMonaco reached out to him regarding the threequel, as he considered The Purge: Anarchy to be a one-off.
“We did Purge 2 and I was really doing it as a one off,” Grillo said. “I loved the script. I love James DeMonaco and I’m a big fan of that genre of movie. The kind of action/thriller ‘70s B movie, if done right, is my kind of movie, is why I used to go to the movies when I was a kid. Then the movie was a real big success and people seemed to like my character. Universal said, ‘Let’s do it again.’”
Universal will unleash an all-new wave of chaos when The Purge 3 takes to the streets on July 1, 2016. Filming is due to get underway in September.