Into 'The Grey': An Interview with Director Joe Carnahan
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BN: I’ve thought about it, and I don’t know if I really understand what that paradox means.
JC: You know what, and I’ll be honest with you Evan, I don’t really understand what it means either. I think the fact that you picked it up, and the fact that I intended it to be there, might be enough. Because I don’t know. I quite love the contradiction of a man who doesn’t seem to have any use for his life at the beginning of the film, but is fighting violently for that same life by the end of the film. I think in keeping with that idea of these various viewpoints and how we sometimes get to the point where we say, “I can’t do this anymore,” and other times you say, “I can’t wait to do this, I can’t wait to experience [life].” It just felt like so right to me.
BN: Switching tangents, did James Cameron’s ALIENS serve as any kind of influence on this film?
JC: No, but Ridley Scott’s ALIEN did, the first one. The nature of this band of people being pursued and hunted by this unseen threat. It was more ALIEN then ALIENS.
In the ALIENS films, the faceless corporation that shows no remorse for the deaths of its employees, is called Weyland Yutani. In THE GREY, one character wears a hat and jacket adorned with the initials WY throughout the entire film.
BN: Was the WY on the one character’s cap and jacket a shout-out to the ALIENS films?
JC: (laughing) I can say you’re only the second person, brother, that has even noticed that. God bless you man. And I will say this: I will neither confirm nor deny that. It could also stand for Wyoming, I don’t know.
BN: What do you have coming up that you’re excited about?
JC: I don’t know because I’ve spent so much time away from my wife and kids, I really want to spend some time with them. My daughter’s going to be a junior in high school and my son’s going to be a fresher in high school, and I’m kind of anxious just to be a dad for a little bit. But there is one story I’m fascinated with, about [infamous Columbian drug lord] Pablo Escobar, and I think it might be my best script. It just needs to be cast.
BN: Is it based on KILLING PABLO by Mark Bowden?
JC: Yeah, it is brother, it’s adapted from the Bowden book.
BN: Who’ll play Escobar?
JC: I want Edgar Ramirez and I want Antonio Banderas to play Martinez, you know the guy hunting him, but we’ll see. That’s kind of an ideal. Edgar’s aware that I want him and he and I have been talking and we spent some time in Columbia together, this has been going on for a few years now, but Antonio will probably find out about it through interviews like this (laughing).
BN: Truly enjoyed talking with you Joe, really enjoyed the film as well. Oh, and I”ll make sure Antonio Banderas’ name is in big bold letters when I publish the interview.
JC: Yeah I appreciate that, if you could bold and italicize that for me that would be great.
BN: Bold and italicized, sold!