Cinematical spoke with "Smokin'" Joe Carnahan today as he hit the press for next week's Smokin' Aces 2, a prequel to his 2006 shoot 'em up bonanza that he lovingly executive produced. (Check back for our full interview next week.) His next film, this summer's adaptation of the gloriously cheesy '80s series The A-Team, will be his biggest film to date - but after having a number of projects start and stop over the past few years (including a remake of Otto Preminger's Bunny Lake is Missing, an adaptation of James Ellroy's White Jazz, and Killing Pablo, the development of which was infamously parodied on HBO's Entourage), what will Carnahan tackle next?
Keeping mum on whether or not The A-Team could yield sequels if it opens big this June, Carnahan clarified what he'd like to put on his upcoming slate. "There's a film that I wrote that I want to do called The Grey," he shared, "which is about a group of pipeline workers in Alaska flying back into civilization after being remote for a number of months. The 737 they're on goes down, and they begin to be hunted by a pack of rogue wolves. It's very much a man vs. nature adventure, existentialist kind of drama that I want to do. We're very, very close to it now."
Continued: Joe Carnahan on Killing Pablo, White Jazz, and Bunny Lake is Missing
Carnahan's had The Grey in mind for a few years, mentioning the project as a spec script he'd worked up when he spoke with Cinematical back in 2007. But if Carnahan's learned anything in the past few years in Hollywood, it's that no film is a given until the gears are really in motion. So if The Grey doesn't happen next, he plans to return his attentions to a few familiar projects. "If not [The Grey], Killing Pablo's always going to be up there for me," said Carnahan. "And White Jazz – I'm still bound and determined to make that movie."
Wait a second – didn't James Ellroy himself lament that the White Jazz film was, in very specific terms, "dead?"
"I think there's a lot to be pessimistic about in the business right now because movies like that aren't getting green lit," Carnahan answered. "I think if we can do it for a number, and that number is gonna be...about $12, then we can make that movie. I think it's a tremendous script, and I think there's always a place for that kind of movie. Certainly there's still got to be a place for the L.A. Confidential sequel, I can't imagine that we've forgotten that completely."
But Carnahan isn't hanging on to every project he once tried to get going. His planned remake of Bunny Lake is Missing, which fell apart after Reese Witherspoon left the project, will remain unmade – which Carnahan says is a good thing. "You know what? Bunny Lake was a kind of time and place [situation]," he explained. "It was one of those things that, in the end, I'm glad didn't move forward because in hindsight I think it would have probably been a mistake."
He continued with a laugh. "But who knows? I thought I was taking myself out of my comfort zone and doing a film with a really strong female lead and a little girl, and understanding that dynamic and challenging myself. I've got a pretty good gauge on my maturity, and I don't know that I would have been in full form to make that thing what it needed to be."
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