Carnahan On His “Bad Boys For Life” Approach

Taking over the mantle from Michael Bay who helmed the first two films, filmmaker Joe Carnahan immediately adds a new dynamic to an aging franchise with the upcoming “Bad Boys For Life”.

The film will bring back Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in their Miami cop roles fifteen years on from the first sequel’s release. The project was pushed back by six months to a January 12th 2018 release, a delay that has been very beneficial says Carnahan who claims to be prepping: “the strongest script of any of those movies. Hands down. In a walk over.”

Talking from the set of the Frank Grillo-led “Wheelman” which is currently in pre-production, Carnahan tells io9 that he’s aware of how third films in franchises are rarely seen as good ones:

“Unless you’re Toy Story 3, usually third ones aren’t the strongest, and I think this one will be the strongest of the trilogy thus far. There’s a lot of funny s–t in this movie, and there’s also a very mysterious, but tonally spot-on story that I think is kind of perfect for where we are in this day and age, where the guys are and reflectively, a very modern take on these guys. It’s kind of what becomes of Bad Boys when they’re not boys anymore.

There are obviously little things you want to tip your hat too but I think the danger is becoming this slavish ‘We have to check all these boxes’. There aren’t these legions of people demanding your head because you didn’t bring back John Salley or you didn’t bring back Joe Pantoliano. I think you have to be careful with that…

[However] there’s only one Will Smith and one Martin Lawrence, you can’t replace those guys and I wouldn’t want to be involved if it wasn’t Will and Martin. They are that franchise…. When you’re coming back after 15 years, you better come back with a home run ball, and I really believe that’s what we have…. We’ve got a responsibility to make something that’s absolutely equivalent or exceeds what comes before. That’s a really important thing for all of us.”

Another reason for the delay was scheduling issues and how even meeting up with everyone has previously been too difficult:

“We couldn’t all get in a room, go through this thing and really ring it out. I’m a big believer in ‘Do the work at the script level until you’ve got something you know works.’ That everyone is happy with, the stars are happy with, the director is happy with, the studio is happy with. Jerry [Bruckheimer]’s been an integral part of this thing since we started. He’s fantastic. He’s always got a really great idea when you need one. He’s always Johnny-on-the-spot with that stuff.”

Carnahan is also writing the next draft of the film version of video game series “Uncharted”. Filming on “Bad Boys for Life” is slated to begin early next year.