Just over a year ago, MGM Pictures announced its plans to develop a remake of Death Wish, the controversial 1974 thriller about a vigilante played by Charles Bronson. The first Death Wish trailer arrived online this week, featuring Bruce Willis as the film’s revenge-obsessed protagonist.
Directed by horror filmmaker Eli Roth (Hostel, Knock Knock), the remake of Death Wish casts Willis as Dr. Paul Kersey, a Chicago surgeon whose wife and daughter are brutally attacked in his home. With the police lacking the resources to adequately investigate the crime, Kersey resorts to vigilante justice, only to become the focus of media attention when an incident in his quest for revenge finds its way to social media.
Now trying to avoid both criminals and the law enforcement agencies out to bring the mysterious vigilante in, Kersey finds himself living a dual life as someone who both saves lives and takes them.
Along with Willis in the lead role the film’s cast also includes Daredevil actor Vincent D’Onofrio, Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), Camila Morrone (Bukowski), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), Mike Epps (The Hangover, Next Friday), Jack Kesy (Baywatch, The Strain), Beau Knapp (The Nice Guys), and Kimberly Elise (Diary of a Mad Black Woman).
The screenplay for the remake was penned by Joe Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team) and Roth, and is based on director Michael Winner and screenwriter Wendell Mayes’ big-screen adaptation of Brian Garfield’s novel of the same name. That 1974 film was widely criticized for glorifying violence and vigilante justice, and was derided by Garfield himself, who intended his novel to be a statement against vigilantism. Nevertheless, the film was a box-office success and spawned four sequels with Bronson in the lead role. The final film in the series was 1994’s Death Wish V: The Face of Death.
Plans for a remake of the film date back to 2006 when Sylvester Stallone indicated that he wanted to direct and star in a new version of Death Wish. Stallone eventually left the project and Carnahan was brought on to write and direct the remake, with Liam Neeson attached to star in it. That version of the film also fell through, but Carnahan’s script was retained, and Willis was brought on as the lead actor. Roth joined the film in June 2016, and the cast was filled out before cameras began rolling later that year.
Roth’s remake of Death Wish hits theaters November 22.
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