Dan Bradley To Direct Red Dawn Remake

Second unit director moving up

Dan Bradley To Direct Red Dawn Remake

by Chris Hewitt |
Published on

Dan Bradley – long considered to be the finest second unit director in the business – is stepping up to the big leagues of first unit.

The man who’s smashed cars together and co-ordinated jaw-dropping stunts and action sequences on the likes of the Bourne trilogy, Spider-Man 2, and Indy IV, has agreed to direct MGM’s remake of John Milius’ action classic, Red Dawn.

Carl Ellsworth – writer of Disturbia, Red Eye, the upcoming Last House On The Left remake and an adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan’s comic book, Y: The Last Man – will write the script, from a story by Jeremy Passmore. "The tone is going to be very intense, very much keeping in mind the post-9/11 world that we're in," says Ellsworth. "As Red Dawn scared the heck out of people in 1984, we feel that the world is kind of already filled with a lot of paranoia and unease, so why not scare the hell out of people again?"

Now, Empire has been in two minds about the Red Dawn remake since it was announced at the Cannes Film Festival. On the one hand, the movie – which tells the tale of a group of American schoolkids who form a guerrilla army called the Wolverines after the US is invaded by Russia – is ripe for a remake, in the quote unquote current climate. Instead of Cold War Russkies, you can choose from any number of threats to American soil.

On the other hand, Milius’ exercise in machismo is a hugely enjoyable guilty pleasure (although there will be those who disagree with its politics), and is worth watching for the number of breakthrough performances alone. From Patrick Swayze to Charlie Sheen, C. Thomas Howell to Lea Thompson, it’s like watching a John Hughes movie turn into The Dirty Dozen. A remake might sully the original (which was the first ever PG-13 movie, incidentally).

But Bradley’s appointment has gone some way to assuaging our fears. Of course, there’s a risk that Bradley may find the gulf from directing second unit to being the big cheese too great; that he may be able to deliver great actions, but might find working with actors and telling a story more difficult. And, of course, rather than shooting sequences designed to blend in with the style of whichever director he’s working for, now he has to come up with the style of the movie all by his lonesome.

It’s a tough task, but so great has Bradley’s reputation become over the last few years (helped enormously by the Bourne car chases, which secured him the gig on Quantum Of Solace) that it would seem that he can handle anything.

Red Dawn will be just the latest of MGM’s key franchises to get the remake treatment, following The Pink Panther series with Steve Martin. Next up? RoboCop. And if you think we’re torn about Red Dawn, you ain’t seen nothing yet. (Although the news that Darren Aronofsky is under consideration to direct appeases us somewhat.)

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