Carnahan The Grey

Part one of our Joe Carnahan interview, discussing Stretch and Death Wish, is here. Part two, talking about Nemesis and working in Hollywood, is here.

Here’s the third and final part of our massive conversation with director Joe Carnahan. After wading through some of his more pressing projects and objections to the Hollywood machine, the talk turned to future opportunities. We discussed the fact Paramount is doing a Narc TV show. We talked about whether or not he’s interested in helping with Drew Goddard‘s Daredevil TV show, having been a part of the potential film. Carnahan also discussed Frank Grillo‘s current explosion as an actor, some future plans the two have, and he talked about potentially directing a Star Wars movie. Read the finale of our Joe Carnahan interview below.

/Film: You talk so fondly about working on TV. Now Paramount’s developing a Narc TV show. What’s up with that?

 Joe Carnahan: I’m writing the outline of it right now. I mean, dude, it’s crazy. I came up with, what I thought, was a really cool way of depicting that world right now, particularly Detroit. And Amy Powell, [Head of Television] at Paramount, God love her, really fell in love with it and said, “Listen, do you think we can do it?” And I said, “Yeah.”  It’s gonna mean some interesting things in terms of the feature and I don’t wanna give anything up yet, but it’s really exciting. It’s kind of the perfect television [story]. It’s kind of limited, whether you do eight or 10 or what have you. It’s a really perfect format to explore that world.

I wanna do something really cinematic and really filmic and keeping it the style… look I thought what Cary Fukunaga [and Nic Pizzolatto] did with True Detective was fucking phenomenal. It just had such a brilliant through line. Just a creative through line. And you knew that the origin was one single voice. That was fantastic. And I may do that on Narc. It’s like, that’s the thing, between directing maybe potentially eight to 10 of those hour long things over four or five months or whatever and busting my balls to a finance an indie? I’ll take the TV side. It’s much cooler. And the time, you can really let these things unfold, you know what I mean? Every moment’s not like a buzzer beater. It’s nice to let it kind of relax and just unfold naturally.

Now it’s funny. You’re talking about the freedoms of TV and a project you once worked on is going to TV. And that’s Daredevil.

Yeah.

Have you thought about talking to Drew Goddard and being like ‘Hey man, I’ll direct a couple of these things,’ just to finally scratch that itch?

You know what, dude? I don’t know because I had such a specific…. and the thing is I don’t think a lot of people realize when Peter Chernin’s company came to me, they were really in the 11th hour. I think they thought if I were to catch then it might give them some time from Marvel. But literally, dude, there was like three weeks left before the rights went back. So it was never a situation where I had been developing this for ages. It was really over the span of a couple weeks.

And my whole take on it was I wanted to do him like I was gonna use these musical motifs for each one. It was gonna be a trilogy. It was Daredevil ’73, Daredevil ’79 and Daredevil ’85. And it would have been Classic Rock, Punk Rock and New Wave. And that was the way I was gonna do those films. And I had come up with what I thought was a really cool Kingpin. And with Daredevil I think, I don’t know if they’re gonna stay in that style, but I thought Daredevil 1973 was incredibly cool. That’s where that sizzle reel came from.

But Drew’s a talented guy. I’m sure they’re gonna do something really interesting with that. And I’ll line up to see it. But in terms of, just because you get stuck on your own bullshit sometimes, it’s hard to divorce yourself. It’s like the idea of working on a Star Wars film, right? I mean, as gigantic as it is, it’s a film that shaped my childhood. You’d jump at that. But what’s more exciting for me is someone like J.J. [Abrams], who I love, doing it, because then I have the experience of sitting there knowing nothing.

But knowing this guy’s a great filmmaker. He’s a fantastic dude. And he knows exactly what the fuck he’s doing. That’s exciting for me. So I kind of feel the same way about Daredevil. I just wanna experience it. And I think that will be enough of a reward. And, like I said, they put it in really good hands. So I’m sure they’ll come up with something great.

I read back through your Twitter feed to see what you got in trouble with over the last couple days. You mentioned that you and Frank Grillo have something up your sleeve. Does that have to do with that thing Continue?

I mean, brother, listen, it was, the really funny version of what the Cruise film is, the Edge of Tomorrow. I mean, I’d still love to make that film. My fear is had we made it when we had the shot, we would have beaten these guys to the punch. But now I’m a little concerned. But Frank and I have got a thing that we’re working on. I’m actually seeing him for dinner in about an hour. But that I’m really pumped up about. That I can’t really even whisper. I wish I could.

But it’s like Frank’s having a moment too, man. I mean, he’s obviously, fairly prominent in the new Captain America. It’s always fun to see one of your closest friends really start to get the recognition he deserves. It’s so overdue. But it’s also indicative of the fact that Hollywood has literally run out of men. When you see a guy who’s suddenly like ‘Oh holy shit, not only is he a man, he’s a fantastic actor.’ They seize upon it. They should. You know, it’s at a premium right now. So it’s really exciting just to see him get what he deserves. He’s staying at my house right now. Like some of these offers he gets, it’s insane. Some of the stuff that they’re offering him. So good for him and I’m really excited to find something we can do in the interim. But the thing that we’re working on now is could be phenomenal, man. Fingers crossed, you know.

Fingers crossed because, as we just talked about, anything can happen in this crazy business.

Exactly, brother, yeah.

Thanks again to the Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown for the opportunity and Joe Carnahan for the fantastic interview.

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