Earlier this year, Eli Roth signed onto, then quickly departed, the long anticipated big screen adaptation of Meg. Upon exiting the giant killer shark movie, the acclaimed horror director wasn't quick to tell the world what he was doing next instead. Now we have an answer. The man behind the Hostel franchise is going to reboot Death Wish with Bruce Willis already confirmed for the lead role of Paul Kersey.
Death Wish follows nice a mild-mannered liberal, New York City architect Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson), who snaps after intruders break into his home, murdering his wife (Hope Lange) and violently raping his daughter. A business trip to Tucson, Ariz., 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 become a vigilante, gunning down any criminal that crosses his path. The public finds this vigilantism heroic. This new take on the material is said to stay much truer to the original novel upon which it is based, written by Brian Garfield and published in 1972.
Death Wish comes as part of Eli Roth's effort to movie away from the horror genre, after helping establish what became known as the torture porn movement. His last movie had horror elements, but the dark thriller Knock Knock starring Keanu Reeves as a kind husband and father who gets tricked by a couple of innocent seeming girls helped push him further away from his deep horror roots while allowing him to stay connected to that world. Death Wish, which is billed as a revenge thriller and an action movie will help him turn a new page to his still burgeoning career as a filmmaker.
Eli Roth will be directing this updated version of Death Wish from a screenplay written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski. Joe Carnahan wrote an original draft for the reboot, and was at one point supposed to direct. Roger Birnbaum is attached as a producer. The movie was also previously set to be directed by Big Bad Wolves duo Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado, who bowed out earlier in the year over creative differences.
The Death Wish remake has been one long gestating in development hell. Deadline reports that Keshales and Papushado wanted to make some changes to the story, but Bruce Willis had already signed off on the first version of the script, and MGM wanted to continue moving in that original direction. They are hoping for a straight down the middle of the road action franchise.
Eli Roth is currently hosting Shark After Dark during Discovery's Shark Week festivities, which runs June 26-30. It isn't clear just how many Death Wish movies MGM is planning, but at this time Eli Roth is just taking on the first installment. The original movie, which debuted in 1974, saw Charles Bronson return as Paul Kersey four more times, with 1982's Death Wish II, 1985's Death Wish 3, 1987's Death Wish 4: The Crackdown and the final installment, 1994's Death Wish V: The Face of Death. The franchise was supposed to carry on in Death Wish 6: The New Vigilante, which wouldn't have included Charles Bronson. That movie was canceled when the studio went bankrupt. It has been over 20 years since Death Wish last made a stand at the movie theater.