Director Joe Carnahan Talks Mark Millar’s NEMESIS and KILLING PABLO; Says Liam Neeson Would Make Fantastic Blake Morrow for NEMESIS

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Joe Carnahan Nemesis killing pablo interview slice

After 2010’s feature film adaptation of The A-Team, director Joe Carnahan is back on the scene with his action-survival flick The Grey. The pic is garnering some pretty great advanced buzz, especially for the bad-assnes of star Liam Neeson, and Steve recently sat down with the director to talk about the film. While we’ll have the full interview up soon, we wanted to share a few interesting tidbits that Carnahan revealed regarding a couple of his upcoming projects.

The director spoke a bit about his adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic Nemesis, revealing that he and Millar have talked about the possibility of Neeson playing Blake Morrow in the pic. Additionally, Carnahan spoke at length about his Pablo Escobar epic Killing Pablo, saying that it’s the film he hopes to make next. The director also talked about dropping out of Umbra, the happy coincidence of The A-Team not being a big hit, and more. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

First up, Carnahan talked briefly about Nemesis. If you’re unfamiliar with the material, the comic asks the question “What if the smartest, toughest costumed bad ass in the world was totally evil?”  The director revealed that he and Millar have actually discussed the possibility of Neeson playing the lead in the feature film adaptation:

“Mark Millar and I were talking about Nemesis and I had mentioned that I think a particularly fantastic Blake Morrow would be Liam Neeson.”

Furthermore, Carnahan said that he’s still very much involved with the project, saying, “I’ve never lost interest in Nemesis.” He went on to say that the project is in ongoing development.

Additionally, Carnahan talked at length about his Pablo Escobar film Killing Pablo, and revealed the reason he dropped out of the conspiracy drama Umbra (which Martin Campbell is now directing):

“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.”

killing-pablo-book-coverWhen asked if the film is 100% ready to go, Carnahan responded without hesitation that it’s very much moving forward:

“[The] script’s 100% greenlit and ready to go. I just have to go cast it. I have to decide when I wanna do it, which I’d love to do it in the fall. That’s assuming that The Grey doesn’t come out and fucking tank (laughs).”

As far as casting goes, Carnahan said there’s people he’s thinking about but no one that he’s “landed on too heavily.” He was remiss to reveal more, but he did say the script for Killing Pablo is probably the best he’s written thus far:

“As much as I love The Grey’s script, Killing Pablo to me is the best thing I’ve ever written. My younger brother Matt Carnahan who wrote World War Z and is 10 times the screenwriter I am, I mean I looked at my younger brother as like ‘That fucking kid can write his ass off.’ But he is of the mind of, he’s like ‘I feel like that’s your best script.’”

Carnahan reiterated that success begets success, and said that the mediocre box office performance of The A-Team was something of a blessing in disguise:

“Sometimes it works in a wonderful way that’s unintended which is if A-Team had been a big I’d be making A-Team 2 right now, I wouldn’t have made The Grey which would have been the travesty, I think.”

I’ve heard great things about The Grey so I’m excited to finally check it out. Carnahan’s enthusiasm about Killing Pablo is refreshing, and if he puts all that passion into getting the film made I think we’ll be in for one hell of a movie.

Here’s the portion of the interview where Carnahan talks about Nemesis and Killing Pablo, followed by a full transcript. We’ll have the full interview up closer to the film’s release. The Grey opens January 27th.

 

nemesis_mark_millar_comic_book_issue_one_coverCollider: Do you get inspired for other ideas when working with Liam Neeson?

Joe Carnahan: You know it’s funny—and I’ll let this cat out of the bag just for you—Mark Millar and I were talking about Nemesis and I had mentioned that I think a particularly fantastic Blake Morrow would be Liam Neeson. So in that respect, yes.

I would imagine you’re being offered quite a few things. What are you looking for, for the future? And also, do you wanna clear the air regarding the status of Nemesis?

Carnahan: 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. 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.

Is the script 100%?

Carnahan: Script’s 100% greenlit and ready to go. I just have to go cast it. I have to decide when I wanna do it, which I’d love to do it in the fall. That’s assuming that The Grey doesn’t come out and fucking tank (laughs).

I don’t see that happening.

Carnahan: I know, but I say that all the time [and] you never know. I’m more cautiously pessimistic because it’s like, you get your ass handed to you enough, you take nothing for granted. I’m very proud of the film. Warrior was a great film, it made $5, you know what I mean?

joe_carnahan_image_02I loved Warrior, one of my favorite films of 2011. I thought more Batman fans would go just to see what Bane’s gonna be like. But you have the Liam Neeson factor. I think that Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, while we know who they are, my parents don’t know who they are, and Liam is just Liam.

Carnahan: And hopefully that’s enough of an X-factor. That would empower my effort to make Pablo, and it would obviously make it a hell of a lot easier. We’ll see.

Do you already have an idea for any casting in it?

Carnahan: There’s people I’m thinking about but there’s nobody I would land on too heavily. I think the problem is if I would say “I want this guy” it becomes almost like a negotiating point for their agents to say “Well he said in this interview on Collider that he loved my client!” So literally, that’s what happens. It becomes currency in a weird way.

Don’t you think that the industry has shifted a little bit with less high profile movies being made that you can be a little more strong-arming nowadays than you could even three to five years ago?

Carnahan: Success begets success. It’s weird because sometimes it works in a wonderful way that’s unintended which is if A-Team had been a big I’d be making A-Team 2 right now, I wouldn’t have made The Grey which would have been the travesty, I think. But success still begets success, so if The Grey is successful, it will be absolutely that much easier for me to broad-shoulder that and push it through and say, “I’m making this movie, and 75% of it’s gonna be in Spanish.” (To the camera) I don’t mean 75%, I mean 15-20% (laughs). So it’s always a very dodgy proposition if you’re talking about the uncertainty of “Well what happened with this movie?” Because this movie gets you the next one.

I would say that if you have a lot of action and a lot of blood and guts, then that helps also.

Carnahan: By the way, Killing Pablo to me—as much as I love The Grey’s script—Killing Pablo to me is the best thing I’ve ever written. My younger brother Matt Carnahan who wrote World War Z and is 10 times the screenwriter I am, I mean I looked at my younger brother as like “That fucking kid can write his ass off.” But he is of the mind of, he’s like “I feel like that’s your best script.” You gotta go strength-to-strength at some point, you know what I mean? Or I’ll wind up out of the industry completely; I’ll end up directing community theater at Culver City.

I think you’re gonna land on your feet.




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  • jarjarshoulddie

    Carnahan’s awesome.

    “See what Bane’s going to be like”? How are the two characters at all related? Same actor, far different characters…

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  • ambrose santiago

    Interesting article. About Pablo Escobar. The violence of the 80’s in Medellin is one for the history books. The city has experienced a magical transformation over the past few years and tourism has grown with each year of Pablo Escobar’s passing, but what the department of tourism in Colombia did not expect was that the number one reason tourists are flocking to Medellins is to learn more about the history of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin Cartel. It’s a beautiful and remarkable city and the locals, affectionately known as ‘paisas’ are very open and hospitable when it comes to welcoming tourists from around the world, even if they are in Colombia for the Pablo Escobar Tours.

    http://www.medellincolombiatours.com

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