Even as his name is still connected to True Detective as a possible cast member for season 2, Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights, Lone Survivor, John Carter) has been offered the lead role in the US remake of The Raid. Frank Grillo is already in the cast, and a circulated wish list for actors also featured names such as Luke Evans, Anthony Mackie, and Ethan Hawke, none of whom have been cast.
The Wrap reports that Kitsch has the offer to topline the Screen Gems remake of Gareth Evans’ action film. The site says the actor’s reps are angling for True Detective as his primary option, with The Raid remake sounding like a fallback.
Taylor Kitsch Raid remake
Patrick Hughes (The Expendables 3) will direct the action remake, which plans to shoot in January 2015, from a script by Brad Ingelsby (Run All Night). All we know about the story of the remake is that it is said to closely follow the plot of the original film written by Evans, which followed a small police squad as it infiltrated an apartment block run by gangsters. Non-stop action and violence follows the police incursion.
The Wrap mentions that True Detective season two would be wrapping right around that time, but the True Detective gig could easily keep Kitsch from doing the intense training one would expect is required to lead The Raid.
Even if Kitsch could end up doing The Raid, it’s likely to be a thankless task. The bar for the movie is set high by the original, and without a drastically different approach, this remake runs the risk of being seen as a pale copy. And Kitsch, despite being a skilled actor, will have to work impossibly hard to even approach the physical standards set by Iko Uwais and the rest of the original cast.
Hughes recently explained some of his approach to the remake:
We have a really, really interesting take on that film. One thing, obviously the original just blew my mind and I was fortunate enough to catch up with Gareth Evans in LA at the premiere of ‘The Raid 2.’ The thing that blew my mind with that film was the aesthetics and the fight sequences but also the simplicity of the premise, and there’s so much you can do with that. So our take on it is really interesting and I feel like if anything what I want to do is elevate the emotional aspect of it, and I think those are my favorite action films of all time when you can balance the action and the emotion, and what he did with his first ‘Raid’ was phenomenal.
He then talked about plot specifics:
Certainly, we’re not there to recreate that film beat for beat, with the set up we’re following a DEA task team, which was implemented by the Bush administration after September 11th when they realized that terrorism and the drug trade were so closely aligned. So they set up a DEA task team that’s six units and they work across borders and sort of act like Navy SEALS. You never read about it, you never hear about it, but they go on these missions. So that’s a really interesting take and a really nice premise and also what’s interesting on this take on it is the clash of cultures and the clash of martial arts, the fighting styles, which is something that’s going to be a lot of fun when we’ve really started pre-vizzing stuff.
XYZ Films, which produced the original film, is also producing the remake.