Joe Carnahan interview

Joe Carnahan has once again produced a slick crime movie with El Chicano.Stunt coordinator Ben Hernandez Bray, who worked on The Grey and performed stunts in a long list of major films, co-wrote the script with Carnahan and makes his directorial debut with the Latino-led superhero movie. It’s a $6 million movie that, like Carnahan’s work, stretches every dollar of its budget.

It’s a superhero movie crossed with a gritty crime film, set in East Los Angeles. Carnahan’s is clearly pleased the film will get its due and play in theaters, especially after studios were resistant and sometimes tone def. When we recently spoke to Carnahan, he told us about how cathartic the project was, how the headache of Bad Boys III led him to El Chicano, his advice for first-time filmmakers, and more.

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Joe Carnahan‘s new film The Grey opens this week, and the movie is a return to the early promise of Carnahan’s movie Narc, which was released in 2004. The Grey is a solid little movie that combines familiar characters with tense action and survival situations, and it should do pretty well with audiences. And if the movie does click with the public, we might see it back in theaters late this year, the better to position it for possible awards. Read More »

One of the perks of being a film fan is there’s always something to look forward to. We wait and wait for a project to come together and, once the credits roll, we’re immediately looking forward to the next thing. Sometimes it’s what’s coming out next week, other times it’s a sequel and in the case of our favorite directors, it’s whatever they choose to do next. Two directors who fit into that category, who’ve both recently finished films, have just dropped significant hints of which projects they plan to tackle next.

David Fincher‘s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo came out last month and talk almost immediately began about the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, being greenlit. And while that’s likely the case, it’s looking less and less likely that Fincher will return. Reports are that he’ll finally make a movie he’s been attached to and developing for some time, a 3D remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Joe Carnahan‘s latest, The Grey, opens in two weeks so he too is eyeing his next project. Like Fincher, his name has been attached to a bunch of different projects but in a new interview he suggested he’ll do the Pablo Escobar drug-drama Killing Pablo next, possibly followed by the crime noir White Jazz.

Read more about all these projects and more after the jump. Read More »

Joe Carnahan Updates Killing Pablo/White Jazz

Joe Carnahan

Joe Carnahan still isn’t sure which of his two greenlit films will go into production next, but he gives us this update:

“There are two actors that I’m interested in for [White Jazz]. Both are available and both are apparently keen on the script. But it’s all speculation at the point. [Killing Pablo] on the other hand, seems likes it’s about to blow and blow big. I’ve got somebody. We met for an extended period when I was in NYC and he is my absolute first and only choice for the film since that meeting. This enthusiasm is mutual. If I was a betting man, I would go with [Killing Pablo] happening quickly. But I’m repeatedly waylaid by the twists and turns of this business, so to pretend like I know or could even gauge an outcome is pretty preposterous.”

Joe Carnahan Starts Comic Book Movie Rumors

juggernaut.jpgA couple weeks ago Joe Carnahan was debating publicly about what movie would be his next project. Would it be the Pablo Escobar bio Killing Pablo or the big screen adaptation of White Jazz? Earlier this week Smokin’ Joe posted a mysterious photo on his blog (seen to the right) of Juggernaut from the X-Men series of comic books. Joe posted only the following words with the photo:

“I’ll let you guys go nuts on this one…”

Rumors have started to circulate the fanboy message boards that Carnahan might be directing a new Marvel project, possibly even an X-Men spin-off movie. When I interviewed Joe last year for Smokin’ Aces, he dropped not one but three separate comic book references into the conversation. He gleefully told me how Jeremy Piven’s card throwing abilities were influenced by Daredevil comics, and how one moment in particular was influenced by a specific issue that he read as a kid. Joe even recited the issue number off the top of his head. So Joe clearly has (or had) an interest in comics, and a comic book adaptation could easily be in his future.

That said, I don’t think this is the case at all. My people are telling me that Carnahan is again prepping to film White Jazz next, possibly as soon as January. While I don’t know anything solid, I’m guessing that Carnahan just signed Vinnie Jones (who played Juggernaut in the recent X-Men: The Last Stand) to a part in the new film (George Ainge maybe?).

Joe Carnahan

White Jazz ScriptEarlier today we told you that Joe Carnahan was considering shooting Killing Pablo before White Jazz. He’s now asking the help of his blog readers to help him make a decision. And in an unprecedented move, he has publicly published both scripts online for you to help him make a decision.

Is he crazy? Well yes, but we already knew that. I’ve always assumed that leaking scripts onto the internet during preproduction was a very bad thing. Won’t Warner and Yari be angry that he just uploaded the script to two upcoming greenlit projects? But now that I think of it, exactly how many people are going to read these anyways? Spoilers won’t keep people from buying a ticket, because after all, they are both based on high profile books. I’m not sure if I clearly understand Joe’s motives in this move, but I’m with him 100%.

Click on the links below to read the scripts. Tell Joe what you think here.

Update: Joe was asked by his management to remove the scripts from the website.

“I’ve also taken the scripts off the site so for those of you that grabbed it beforehand, bully to you. I still might be able to put them back up in the next few days.”

Joe Carnahan Considers Killing Pablo before White Jazz

George Clooney and Chris Pine leave the big screen adaptation of White Jazz, so what is writer/director Joe Carnahan to do?

Kill Pablo instead?

That is an option that Smokin’ Joe is currently considering. Caranaha’s Pablo Escobar biopic, titled Killing Pablo, was finally greenlit earlier this month, after years of development. Carnahan originally planned to shoot the film with Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) attached to star, after White Jazz wrapped this Summer.

“White Jazz is something, that as much as it kills me to say this, can wait,” wrote Carnahan on his online blog. What can’t is PABLO since another version of that story (albeit inferior) is being prepped right now.”

“The only downside would be Bardem, who just committed to a film and therefore wouldn’t be available for KP. There is, however another suggestion that’s just as thrilling and somebody who had already expressed an earlier interest in this script. If he were to agree to play Pablo, I might have to pull up stakes and go make that film, toot sweet. I don’t want to get beat to the punch on something that I put that much time and effort into. I didn’t slave over the NARC script like I did over KILLING PABLO. It’s a high class problem I’ve got but it’s still a f*cking problem.”

“Anybody familiar with the state of screenplays in town will tell you, WJ is one of the best out there. That much I know. What makes that advantageous, is if this ridiculous writer’s strike does in fact drop, we can press on making that movie, sans rewrite.”

“The KP situation would also allow me to go absolutely nuts with the casting. That script has got no shortage of fans and the great thing is, a lot of those roles you can board (schedule) in and out so I can load some badass cameos in that film.”

Carnahan insists that there are “pros and there’s cons but no scale to tip” the scale. The biggest factor in this pre-strike world, seems to be time.

“I don’t want to lose out to this other flick and when I say ‘lose out’ I mean foreign buyers will basically snap up the first PABLO project that gets going, regardless of script or talent, etc. It’s commerce and if you’re the first one in, that’s all that counts.”

My pick is White Jazz. I’ve been waiting for years for a good Pablo Escobar film, but Jazz seems like it could be the more solid film. Plus, the conceptual photos that Carnahan has released online has gotten me very excited for Jazz. It seems that Carnahan has this film very thought out, and now is the time to strike.

George Clooney Leaves White Jazz

White Jazz

So first Joe Carnahan looses Chris Pine who jumped ship to JJ Abrams’ Star Trek, and now George Clooney is leaving the White Jazz ship due to “scheduling issues.” Carnahan was scheduled to go into production early next year, and Clooney is currently shooting the Coen Bros’ Burn After Reading, and trying to finish his football movie, Leatherheads. But who knows exactly that scheduling is preventing him to star in Smokin’ Joe’s film.

Clooney’s producing partner, Grant Heslov assures everyone that “George continues to believe in the project and in Joe.” But this all sounds so suspicious. Who knows what will now become of White Jazz. Will the producers/studio still want to go ahead despite the loss of the film’s lead star? And if so, will they be able to find a suitable replacement by early next year (in order to shoot pre strike)?

Carnahan is a great director who is able to squeeze tons of production value out of little money and shitty circumstances. And these types of situations have plagued his whole career. He’s been trying to get Killing Pablo off the ground for years now (and it finally looks to be going ahead, but again, you never know what will happen). And the source material is also very good, so I hope they will figure a way to make this movie. Maybe the best thing to do is to push it back to a time when Clooney and Pine could fit it into their schedules?

Based on the James Ellroy novel, White Jazz is set in late 1950s Los Angeles, and follows a vice cop Dave Klein (who was to be played by Clooney), who senses he’s being set up by the police commissioner, he sets out to expose a decades-old network of corruption engineered by the LAPD.

Update: Joe Carnahan has posted a comment on his blog:

Rough weekend. I had a bad feeling after they pushed ‘Leatherheads’ to April ecause of the extensive post on that film that something was going to have to give. Also, George is neck deep in the Coen bros. film at the moment and trying to do ‘Michael Clayton’ press which will likely carry over into Awards season…SO…they wanted to see about pushing White Jazz back, which I really don’t want to do. I’ve been waiting awhile to make this one and I wasn’t content to sit on my hands.

Right now, (actually it began on friday) we’re in the process of trying to plug a guy into this movie that, if it works, would be pretty f*cking amazing. No, INCREDIBLY f*cking amazing, so we’ll see what happens.

No tears kids. This is the business. It happens all the time and you’ve got to have the balls and the ability to push past in spite of the setbacks.

We march on.

Chris Pine CONFIRMED as Kirk in Star Trek

Chris PineChris Pine has dropped out of playing Junior Stemmons in Joe Carnahan’s White Jazz, which means he’s 100% confirmed to play Kirk in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek. I know, I know, we already had a Carnahan story earlier today, but this is some breaking news as Pine was undecided when the news broke a couple days back that he was Abrams final choice for the role of Kirk.

“I’ve been talking to him this past week and knew how tough the decision had to be for him,” Caranahan wrote on his blog. “I don’t envy ever being in that spot but I gave him my full support, even if it meant he didn’t do JAZZ. I get it. You don’t get opportunities like that often and I told him as long as he could control as much of that process as possible and not get sucked into doing lesser sequels as a result of taking this gig, then good luck and God bless.”

Carnahan has promised a role to Pine in Killing Pablo, his Pablo Escobar biopic which is set to go into production June 2008. I still don’t think that Pine can fill Shatner’s shoes, but I sure hope that Abrams knows what he’s doing. Because I, like most everyone else who cares about this franchise is starting to get a bit nervous about these casting decisions.

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Joe Caranahan on The Hollywood Strike

Joe CarnahanAll this talk of a potential strike has got me thinking: Will the strike actually happen? All my friends who are currently working at Hollywood studios believe it will and have told me that the studios are preparing like it’s the end of the world. Instead of preparing for the worst, why aren’t the studios trying to make good and keep the unions happy?

I haven’t been able to get any of my director friends to comment on the strike on the record, so I found Smokin Aces writer/director Joe Carnahan’s comments refreshingly honest. Carnahan begins a 50 day production on White Jazz soon, and he plans to follow that up with Killing Pablo in June 2008 (after post production). He thinks that is possible “providing the actors don’t strike…”

“…and I don’t think that’s going to happen. I think the WGA is going to go out in another two weeks and it’s gonna be so ugly and potentially protracted that it’s gong to scare off SAG and the DGA and they’re going to come to an agreement before the June 30th drop dead date. I really think this is where it’s headed.

I’ve talked to friends of mine, writers and directors and agents and everybody  has this bunker mentality…this strike is happening and people are going to be destroyed overnight. Careers are going to be crushed and an industry torpedoed. The respective parties as so far apart right now, the notion that in two weeks, there will be this miraculous stick save and all will be resolved, is insane…”

You can always count on Joe for his candid thoughts.