Eli Roth's remake of Death Wish has added yet another veteran actor to its cast. Comedian Mike Epps has joined the movie as Dr. Chris Salgadoa, a friend to Bruce Willis, who is playing Paul Kersey, the lead in the movie. It seems as though he will be playing a character that didn't appear in the original 1974 Death Wish movie.
Deadline broke the news that Mike Epps will be joining the remake, which appears to be getting closer to production as they have recently added a lot more talent to the cast. Vincent D'Onofrio and Dean Norris also recently joined Death Wish. The project finally got going when director Eli Roth came aboard along with Bruce Willis, playing a role originally portrayed by Charles Bronson. Prior to boarding Death Wish, Eli Roth had been attached to direct the giant shark movie Meg, but he exited the project and found his way to this vigilante thriller.
The story of Death Wish, which is based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Brian Garfield, follows nice a mild-mannered New York City architect Paul Kersey, who snaps after intruders break into his home, murdering his wife and violently raping his daughter. A business trip following the incident lands him a gift from a client; a revolver he uses to patrol the streets when he returns home. Frustrated that the police cannot find the intruders, he becomes a vigilante, gunning down any criminal that crosses his path. The public finds this vigilantism heroic.
The original 1974 Death Wish was a fairly big hit for Paramount at the time, having grossed $22 million on an estimated $3 million budget. The movie spawned four sequels, starting with Death Wish II in 1982, followed by Death Wish 3 in 1985, then Death Wish 4: The Crackdown in 1987, eventually culminating with Death Wish V: The Face of Death in 1994. The series, specifically the original, has been criticized for their over-the-top depiction of violence and vigilantism. Given Eli Roth's sensibilities, it is unlikely that this new version will skimp on the violence. The director is no stranger to controversial movies, but word is that Paramount and MGM are hoping for this to be more of a straightforward action franchise, which would make sense given the casting of Bruce Willis.
Eli Roth has mostly been known for making rather gory horror movies, such as Hostel and The Green Inferno, which payed homage to the cult horror movie Cannibal Holocaust. MGM and Paramount have been wanting to get this remake of Death Wish off the ground for quite some time, but it seems like things have finally aligned and the movie is slated to come out sometime next year. Given the success of recent remakes like The Magnificent Seven, Paramount and MGM are hoping they have a potential hit on their hands. Eli Roth will be directing from a script written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski.