Into 'The Grey': An Interview with Director Joe Carnahan

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BN: You know, I find it interesting that the one man who appears to have the least to live for is also the one who seems the most driven to survive.

JC: Absolutely, man.

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.

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