Director Joe Carnahan on Nemesis, Killing Pablo and Why He Dropped Umbra
01.11.12 by BJSprecher
Rugged Irish actor Liam Neeson has become the go-to guy for writer-director Joe Carnahan. Carnahan chose Neeson to play Hannibal, the leader of the group of wrongly-convicted war heroes in his modern adaptation of the classic TV show The A-Team, and also the "oil-rig roughneck" at the center of his latest movie, The Grey, which opens later this month.
Though Carnahan recently admitted that he doesn't think he will be re-teaming with Neeson on a sequel to The A-Team — "I don’t want to get tied up in that whole world of sequels and franchises." — he's not done with the Academy Award-nominated actor just yet. In an interview with Collider in support of The Grey, Carnahan said that Neeson would be "fantastic" as the hero cop in Nemesis, the planned live-action adaptation of Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar's comic book about a white-clad supervillain with the money and skills of Batman in a world without superheroes.
Carnahan, who was next on Millar's wish list after Tony Scott bowed out, said that he is still "in discussions" with the comic book creator about Nemesis and that Neeson is the right man for the job.
Mark Millar and I were talking about Nemesis and I had mentioned that I think a particularly fantastic Blake Morrow would be Liam Neeson. ...I’ll say this, Mark and I are in discussions. I’ll say I’ve never lost interest in Nemesis. He and I both fell victim to a kind of executive breach of trust that took place that it’s not even worth commenting on. That was a classic example of 'he said, he said.' That’s an ongoing development
Carnahan went on to say that what he really wants to do next is direct Killing Pablo, an adaptation of Mark Bowden's book of the same name about the efforts by both the U.S. government and the Columbian government to stop Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Carnahan called the Killing Pablo screenplay adaptation that he wrote "the best thing" he has ever written — apparently seconded by his screenwriter brother, Matthew Michael Carnahan (State of Play) — and said that his passion for the project contributed to his decision to drop out as director of Umbra.
Where I’m at right now, personally if I could make Killing Pablo that’s the film I wanna make, man. That’s where the soul beats, and that’s probably why I didn’t do Umbra. As much as I loved Umbra and as much as I loved Jim Stern, everybody at Endgame, I was gearing up for that process and it’s like, the idea that I would travel or go anywhere away from my family without it being something that absolutely is some essential part of my DNA as a filmmaker it isn’t worth it, I just can’t do it right now. But Pablo absolutely beats the loudest for me right now, so if I had my druthers that’s what I would do.
Carnahan said that his script for Killing Pablo is "100% greenlit and ready to go" and that he simply needs to "go cast it." That is, "assuming that The Grey doesn’t come out and f*cking tank."
The Grey is based on the short story "Ghost Walkers" by Ian Jeffers, who co-wrote the screenplay with Carnahan. The cast includes Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie and James Badge Dale.