NEW FILM: THE GREY [Starring wolves]
This one’s been promoting itself on Twitter and other places online. The director, Joe Carnahan took a lot of shit after the A-Team movie, so it makes sense he’d take the star of that film and make him the main piece of shit in this one.
Can it be good?
Word is this thing is actually very decent. Let’s see the details, make up our own minds…
Title: The Grey
Director: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Wolves, Liam Neeson, Marlon Brando, Tom Oliver
Plot: A group of wolves gets lost somewhere in Greenland and has to find its way home. Problem? They’re not alone in this wilderness. Humans, led by Liam Neeson, are hunting them one by one, and not all of them are gonna make it back alive.
Background: Carnahan has said this is a film about doing whatever it takes to stay alive and ‘how we choose to die’. The ‘we’ clearly referring to the wolves. The budget ain’t huge, but the wolves worked for industry standard, while the big names charged extra, hoping their asshole behaviour would intensify the conflict between the wolves and humans in the film.
Characters: In an impressive casting coup, the main wolf is played by Diefenbaker from ‘Due South’, which came as a surprise to both the star and the director. “I won’t lie, it’s been tough the last decade or so,” says Diefenbaker. “There aren’t many good wolf roles around at the moment, and the ones you get offered…you know, it’s all the same type: ‘Heroic wolf’ or ‘friend of man’. But as soon as I got the script, I knew this was different. I mean, the first ten pages, you get a lot of character moments, a lot of personal stuff…my character looking at the photo of his wife and kids, the camaraderie between the wolves…it’s really the antithesis of typical Hollywood wolf roles.”
Carnahan agrees, saying he made the decision to focus on the wolves after meeting one late one night last year in an LA car park. “This poor fuck…he was just rooting around the trash cans, looking for scripts to eat. I walked up to him, said, ‘let me buy you a drink’. You know, I didn’t recognise him at first, it was only when we walked under a streetlight I could see who it was [The main wolf from ‘Eight Below’]. So anyway, we ended up at some bar and just started talking about all the things wrong with the system, you know, all that whiny bullshit directors say when things aren’t going so good…and that’s when we came up with the idea for ‘The Grey’.”
Bad Neeson? Carnahan knew right from the off the film wouldn’t work without a convincing bad guy hunting the wolves, someone completely unsympathetic, who could gut a wolf and not even blink. But whoever it was would also have to be big, strangely sexy and willing to run around in the icy cold for three months.
“Liam was the natural choice,” says Carnahan. “He’s big, he’s tough, he’s kinda dumb. And to be honest, I was kinda pissed about the whole A-Team thing, so…there it is.”
You mean Neeson was chosen to suffer for the A-Team’s sins?
“Pretty much, yeah. I mean, that whole thing, it clearly wasn’t my fault. And, yeah, I know it sounds harsh, but I wanted Liam to suffer for…you know, all the stuff he did against me, and this was the way to do that. From the first day, I did everything I possibly could…hid his fluffy jacket, took out the teeth corks from the stunt wolves, refused first aid. Basically, and I’ve got no shame in saying this, Liam became a symbol for all the wrongness Hollywood has dealt me these last five years.”
Neeson concurs. “I knew it was personal when I saw Joe sanding down the wolves’ teeth between takes.”
Did he mind the torment?
“Not really, no. I mean, if I whinge about it then people will call me a whinger. And I can take more punishment than most actors…most soldiers even. Did you know I was born on a battlefield?” [After looking on IMDB, it seems Neeson’s correct. His father was born in a hospital near the set of ‘Paths of Glory’, the Kubrick anti-war film].
Liam Neeson strapping broken glass to his knuckles and attacking a wolf just trying to get home. The naturalistic dialogue between the wolves. The casual brutality of the human hunters. The opening voiceover defending the falling tank scene from The A-Team. If the rest of the film plays like these two minutes, it’s gonna be brutal [and whiny].
The film opens in the US this week, and it looks like the only competition around is the leftover shit from Christmas. Will people see the Chipmunks a third time or will they go and support the wolves?