Movie News & Reviews

Director and former Sacramentan Joe Carnahan back in the big-screen action

Joe Carnahan was director, writer and actor in “Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane,” a 1998 film shot in Sacramento.
Joe Carnahan was director, writer and actor in “Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane,” a 1998 film shot in Sacramento. Bee file

Filmmaker and former Sacramentan Joe Carnahan, who in 2014 told The Bee he was focusing on television, has re-engaged with film in a big way.

Variety recently reported Carnahan will write the latest draft of the script for the film adaptation of the popular video game “Uncharted” for Sony. Carnahan already is working for Sony on “Bad Boys 3,” the third installment in the Will Smith-Martin Lawrence action series. Carnahan will direct “Bad Boys 3,” which is expected to start shooting in early 2017, Variety reported.

Carnahan also has started a production company called War Party with actor Frank Grillo, one of the stars of Carnahan’s snowy 2012 action thriller “The Grey.” According to Variety, Carnahan and Grillo aim to produce action-based film and television projects under the new shingle.

Carnahan had in the past few years focused much of his attention on TV. He directed and/or wrote or executive produced several episodes of the hit NBC series “The Blacklist” before creating the Katherine Heigl series “State of Affairs,” which debuted in November 2014. The series, in which Heigl played a top CIA analyst, lasted 13 episodes.

Carnahan told The Bee, just before “Affairs” debuted, that “in terms of intimacy, in terms of kind of deep character exploration, I think TV is the only way to go right now.”

At the time, he said the studio system was only “making spectacle” – big-budget action films. Universal had dropped his 2014 film “Stretch,” a low-budget comedic odyssey featuring drugs, criminality and two Carnahan-film veterans (Ray Liotta, from “Narc,” and Chris Pine, from “Smokin’ Aces”) from its roster after scheduling for theatrical release.

“Corporate culture has eliminated any kind of risk-taking” by studios, Carnahan said.

Carnahan clearly has opened himself to big-screen filmmaking again. But he’s also not abandoning TV, or at least not near-TV.

War Party is behind the forthcoming Netflix film “Wheelman,” in which Grillo plays a getaway driver forced into a race to survive. Carnahan is producing “Wheelman,” which was written and directed by Jeremy Rush and is expected to start production this fall.

“Netflix is literally reinventing the game in terms of distribution and the sheer number of subscribers they reach,” Carnahan said in a press release for “Wheelman.”

Carnahan, who once worked in the promotions department at KMAX (Channel 31), shot his first film, the 1998 action comedy “Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane,” in Sacramento. That film played the Sundance Film Festival, which in 2002 showed Carnahan’s breakout film, the cop noir “Narc.”

Carnahan followed with the exploitation comedy “Smokin’ Aces,” the TV-to-film adaptation of “The A-Team” and then “The Grey.” In “The Grey,” Carnahan’s most critically well-received film after “Narc,” Grillo played one of several oil workers trying to outwit a ferocious pack of wolves after a plane crash in Alaska.