For a few weeks now, the remake of "Death Wish" has been without a director. "The Grey"'s Joe Carnahan had been developing the remake of the 1974 revenge thriller (which starred Charles Bronson and was directed by the later Michael Winner) for some time, but couldn't come to an agreement with MGM and Paramount over the lead -- the filmmaker was long thought to have wanted to cast rising actor Frank Grillo, while the backers were said to want Bruce Willis -- and he departed the project last month.
Well fortunately, the companies seem to have found their man, as Variety report that Gerardo Naranjo, the director of acclaimed Mexican drama "Miss Bala," has signed on to helm the picture. The 2011 film, about a beauty queen who becomes embroiled with a drug cartel south of the border, landed the filmmaker on a lot of radars, and he's had a number of projects on the boil, including political thriller "A Man Must Die," and potential Michael Fassbender vehicle "The Mountain Between Us." But as yet, neither have moved forward, though Naranjo did helm the pilot for the upcoming FX series "The Bridge," starring Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger.
But this is likely to move forward fairly quickly; the trade reveals that alongside Willis, Paramount and MGM had approached Brad Pitt and Will Smith, and the hopes are that a similar level of A-lister will sign on to the project (which retains a script written by Carnahan) now Naranjo's on board. If we're being honest, a remake of "Death Wish" is virtually the least interesting thing we can imagine someone of the filmmakers' talents taking on, but it should at least be well directed, and if it buys him the cachet to move forward on 'Mountain,' or something else, so much the better. There's no exact word on when the film will shoot, but if they can land a star, it sounds like it'll be relatively soon.