Bruce Willis to Star in Death Wish Remake

Bruce Willis to Star in Death Wish Remake

Death Wish

The Die Hard star may very well have found his next franchise in reviving the revenge classic.

Aside from holding the prestigious distinction of containing Jeff Goldblum's acting debut, Charles Bronson's Death Wish is easily one of the most iconic revenge films of all time. It's story -- wherein a recently-widowed Bronson seeks revenge on the street tuffs who murdered his wife and becomes a vigilante hero in the process -- is a bullet-riddled testament to how effective simplicity can be in storytelling and the closest thing to what I imagine our nation's elderly dream about doing on a daily basis. Even those who haven't seen Death Wish have heard of Death Wish in one form or another, because Death Wish laid the foundation upon which the vast majority of subsequent revenge films have been built.

And the rest of the franchise? Absolute madness. It's basically just 360 minutes of Bronson (who was 73 by the time the fifth and final entry was wrapping up) stacking the bodies of increasingly cartoonish gang members ("they killed the giggler!") with increasingly cartoonish firepower (a belt-fed M-60 is involved at one point).

So if you found yourself casting a remake of Death Wish, because you just knew that they would eventually remake Death Wish, who would you choose to take over for Bronson? Ahnold? Stallone? Or would you go with John freaking McClane himself, Bruce Willis?

Well, if you're Paramount Pictures, the answer is the latter. Deadline is reporting that Willis has been chosen to star in the upcoming remake of Death Wish, which is set to begin production in the summer.

Paramount and MGM are setting Big Bad Wolves helmers Aharon Keshales & Navot Papushado to direct Bruce Willis in Death Wish, the revamp of the Charles Bronson vigilante franchise that is adapted from the Brian Garfield novel.

The Israeli filmmaking team made their debut with Rabies and then followed with 2013's Big Bad Wolves, a violent, high-octane thriller that became a cult favorite. They are repped by WME.

The casting of Willis puts the team behind the Death Wish remake in an interesting place, at least as far as their approach to the character of Paul Kersey goes. While Willis has shown no signs of slowing down in his recent blockbusters (and is set to trot out John McClane yet again in Die Hard: Year One), Bronson's Kersey was not really a guy who engaged in the rooftop fight sequences that Willis has become known for -- in fact, he almost exclusively relied on firepower to bring his enemies to (street) justice.

Considering that Bronson was 7 years younger than Willis (who turns 61 in just over a week) when he started filming the series, let's hope for everyone's sake that Keshales and Papushado don't try and turn the new Paul Kersey into another unkillable, helicopter-destroying superhero. Having seen Rabies and loved it, though, I think this remake is in more than competent hands -- and also, you should all check out Rabies.

As for Willis, Death Wish could very well serve as the franchise that keeps him acting into his 70's like it did for Bronson -- which again, I'm all for. I mean, does Death Wish 2: Hostile Territory starring Bruce Willis and Betty White sound as good to everyone else as it does to me?

Source: Deadline

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Just waiting for an easter egg in the form of the plans Kersey is working on being for Nakatomi Plaza... :9

Unless they really change things up, this sounds like a terrible idea.

Death Wish wasn't famous because it was a "revenge thriller", Death Wish was famous because it was so controversial. It came out at a time when crime rates in America were soaring, and the movie wasn't so much a revenge thriller as it was a Vigilante fantasy. The whole schtick of the movie was about how Bronson's character was this ultra-liberal anti-gun guy who believed that criminals only existed due to poverty and institutional oppression, but he becomes a gun-toting, criminal killing vigilante once his wife is murdered and his daughter is raped.

I just can't see a movie like that really catching with audiences today (unless controversy is the point).

Not to mention, "Death Sentence" wiht Kevin Bacon was basically already a "Death Wish" update.

Ihateregistering1:
Not to mention, "Death Sentence" wiht Kevin Bacon was basically already a "Death Wish" update.

Well there is a difference there that you pointed out earlier in your post, death wish is a vigilante film, death sentence is revenge. Kevin Bacon does kill the men responsible for murdering his wife and son, and then it's implied he goes to jail for his crimes. I don't think Bronson ever kills any of the people responsible for killing his wife, and he never really gets caught.

But anyway, the thing that stuck out the most to me about Death Wish wasn't the killing - there's been plenty of movies like that since it was made - but how long it actually takes Bronson's character to turn to vigilantism, and how reluctant he is to do so. I don't think he hurts anyone for the first half hour of the movie, and kills maybe half a dozen gang members. That's what separates the original Death Wish from it's more action oriented sequels and makes it a genuine classic: It's a slow burn, dramatic film with a lot of build-up.

And if Hollywood remakes it for big movie blockbuster appeal, they're going to fuck it all up.

UberPubert:

Well there is a difference there that you pointed out earlier in your post, death wish is a vigilante film, death sentence is revenge. Kevin Bacon does kill the men responsible for murdering his wife and son, and then it's implied he goes to jail for his crimes. I don't think Bronson ever kills any of the people responsible for killing his wife, and he never really gets caught.

He does eventually kill them, but he doesn't go looking, he just finds them while killing other people.

He doesn't go to jail, but the police and the mayor/governor? figure out who he is and force him to quit/leave town.

I can imagine the trailer:

< epic voice > "He's Died Hard, been Expendable and had A Dame To Kill For. Now, this summer, watch Bruce Willis fulfil his Death Wish" < / epic voice >

Five cents says Willis' character has some "special skill set", and makes a beeline for the violence option once the (likely toned down) inevitable is out of the way.

Because making this now, with Willis? Let's face it, they're aiming for the Taken audience.

 

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