An Extremely Candid Q&A with ‘Boss Level’ Filmmakers Joe Carnahan and Frank Grillo

     February 18, 2020

Last week at ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood, Collider partnered up with Frank Grillo, director Joe Carnahan, and ArcLight Cinemas for an advance screening of the upcoming sci-fi action thriller Boss Level. The film stars Grillo as a retired special forces soldier that gets stuck in a time loop on the day of his death. As he keeps repeating the day, he’s forced to battle various assassins while also trying to figure out what’s going on. The film also stars Mel Gibson, Naomi WattsMichelle YeohAnnabelle WallisKen Jeong and former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. You can read a lot of positive reactions to the film here.


Image via War Party

After the screening ended, Carnahan and Grillo joined me for an in-depth, spoiler-free Q&A that didn’t pull any punches. The thing to know about both Grillo and Carnahan is they will always speak their minds. If they had issues with the people that financed their movie, they call them out. If they get screwed right before filming began, they’ll share what happened and what they did to solve their problems. In an industry where everyone is extremely careful about saying something that could rock the boat, talking to Grillo and Carnahan is incredibly refreshing.

As you’ll see in the Q&A, Grillo and Carnahan share a ton of stories about the making of Boss Level that will surprise you. For example, right before filming was set to begin, they had their schedule cut from forty-three days to just twenty-seven days and if they didn’t find a way to make it work, the crew would all be fired. In addition, Grillo shares a great story about how Mel Gibson dislocated his jaw in their fight scene even after he warned him to be careful, what they did to adjust the script to their new budget, the science behind the plot, casting Rob Gronkowski, and so much more. In addition, towards the end of the Q&A, they gave some updates on what’s up with The Raid remake, their next project with Gibson, Leo from Toledo, future WarParty (their production company) projects, and more.


Image via War Party

Trust me, if you’re a fan of Grillo and Carnahan, or just want to watch a great Q&A, check this one out.

Check out what they had to say in the player above, and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.

Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan:

  • How it’s a tricky Q&A because we don’t want to talk about spoilers.
  • What the film is about.
  • How Grillo’s son in real life plays his son in the film.
  • How Carnahan wanted Grillo’s son in the role.
  • Where did the idea for Boss Level come from?
  • How they shot screen tests for Boss Level eight years ago.
  • How they shot in the film in 27 days and it was originally scheduled for 43.
  • Carnahan and Grillo talk about the many challenges to make Boss Level and what they had to deal with in pre-production.
  • How did they pull off all the action in 27 days?
  • How many days did they get to film in the apartment from the beginning of the film?
  • The 3rd act hand to hand combat.
  • Who really produced the movie…
  • How Grillo learned the sword fight in two hours.
  • The great supporting cast.
  • How Mel Gibson dislocated Grillo’s jaw in the fight scene even after Grillo warned him about it before they did their first take.
  • Did they have any deleted scenes?
  • How much did they want to explain the science behind what was happening to Grillo’s character?
  • Which sequence was the biggest challenge to film and why?
  • How they constantly dealt with money problems making the film.
  • How did they change the script when they lost so many shooting days?
  • boss-level-naomi-watts

    Image via War Party

    How did Rob Gronkowski end up in the movie?

  • What were the most takes they got to do in the film?
  • How Boss Level has been sold around the world but they’re still figuring out domestic distribution.
  • Were they surprised with the success of Bad Boys for Life which Carnahan co-wrote?
  • What’s up with The Raid remake?
  • How the title of the script is now Zeno.
  • Leo From Toledo talk including when they’re filming and what it’s about.
  • What else is coming up at WarParty?
  • Why they’re having a tough time making films for less than twenty million dollars.
  • Will we get a Wheelman sequel?
  • Grillo talks about working with his son on the film and shares some funny stories.
  • What was the last big fight they had?
  • Does Carnahan miss Twitter?

frank-grillo-joe-carnahan-interview-wheelman-2-upcoming-moviesHere’s the official synopsis for Boss Level:

Trapped in a time loop that constantly repeats the day of his murder, former special forces agent Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo) uncovers clues about a secret government project that could unlock the mystery behind his untimely death. In a race against the clock, Pulver must hunt down Colonel Ventor (Mel Gibson), the powerful head of the government program, while outrunning skilled ruthless assassins determined to keep him from the truth in order to break out of the loop, save his family and live once again for tomorrow.

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