There's a saying in Hollywood: if you don't like the movie Joe Carnahan is working on, wait five months. I kid because I love, and the reality is that every filmmaker in town jumps on and off projects all the time. It's just that so few of them do it so visibly as Carnahan, who has left behind a trail of movies we really wanted to see.
The latest movie to lose Carnahan is the remake of Death Wish, which was set up at MGM-Paramount. The scuttlebutt is that execs wanted Carnahan to cast Bruce WIllis as Paul Kersey and that Carnahan refused. When push came to shove, Joe shoved his way the fuck off the lot. Good for him - Bruce is bad casting for the part. While Charles Bronson made the role famous, anyone trying to make the movie today has to understand your lead needs to be a man who gets pushed to extremities, not a guy with a long cinematic history of kicking ass. That's why Liam Neeson worked in Taken, but nobody liked Taken 2 - you can only be a surprising badass once.
Over at Ain't It Cool Mr. Beaks has put forward Paul Rudd as a choice for the lead, and I love that. It's what we need - a Paul Kersey who is not automatically, obviously a killer. Somebody whose first murder will be shocking and resonant.
Of course Bruce Willis will likely get the part and the studio will just put a John Moore-type anonymous nobody director in the chair. Everybody loses.