Adam G. Simon is intense. When you are on the phone with this guy, the connection between cell phones feels like a sizzling piece of dynamite just waiting to explode. The man is a proud live wire, unapologetic about what he says or how he says it.
The thing about intensity, though, is that it can’t exist without passion. The actor and screenwriter carries it in bulk, and has crafted a career out of it. A career that is set to ignite in 2019.
Simon has worn many hats in Hollywood, dabbling in several areas such as writing, directing, producing, and acting. If you can think of it, he has done it, and if you know anything about hard work, you’ll understand that it can lead to bigger and better things.
Simon, who broke into the business years ago while working as a bodyguard, is finding newfound success as a screenwriter, with two big projects on the horizon.
The first, Netflix’s Point Blank, starring Frank Grillo and Anthony Mackie, is a remake of a French film called A bout Portant. Directed by Joe Lynch, the film follows a criminal’s fight to save his kidnapped wife with the help of a nurse. The film co-stars Marcia Gay Harden and Christian Cooke, and is set for release in August.
Simon wrote the script, and promises a thrill ride unlike anything you’ve seen before. “This isn’t a remake or reboot; it’s a complete re-imagining,” Simon told me in October when he was my guest on A Dose of Buffa.
Simon uses the same description for the upcoming remake of The Raid, which is known as one of the quintessential all-out action films of the past century. Simon’s script is the oil in the engine of Joe Carnahan and Grillo’s War Party production of Gareth Evans’ film, which the seasoned scribe describes as a stand-alone film that only carries the title of the original in spirit.
It is War Party, the production company that serves as Carnahan and Grillo’s cinematic love child, that triggers this Simon ascent. A company that takes chances needs a maverick writer willing to ride with them, and Simon is anything but afraid when it comes to taking risks. Along with Point Blank and eventually The Raid, War Party is releasing the first full-blown Latino superhero flick with this spring’s El Chicano, directed by Ben Bray. A film that Simon says is, at its core, “a beautiful story about brothers, rivalry, and this really cool family dynamic.”
It’s here where the intensity of Simon shines through in a potent way. Talking about El Chicano’s sleeper status, Simon points out that “old white men in suits” are slow to the punch when it comes to registering the commercial viability of this kind of film. When he tried to find interest in the film from friends of his in the business, Simon got a lot of rejection, which is something he thinks they will regret when El Chicano is released in May. When women talk about a dichotomy in pay in Hollywood, I feel like mentioning the absence of different nationalities headlining films. Simon doesn’t didn’t let that less during our interview.
Talking about Point Blank is when Simon’s passion truly hits a new level, especially when discussing the chemistry between co-stars, Grillo and Mackie. The pair are best friends in real life, and that back-and-forth shines through on film. “Grillo and Mackie have this real 48 Hours thing going on that’s kind of natural to who they are. They are both incredible on screen,” Simon said. “We’ve seen this kind of a formula before, but we are doing in a way that hasn’t been seen before.”
Simon describes this project and War Party collaboration and coronation as a turning point for him. Going from a guy who wrote the Shia Laboeuf 2015 military drama, Man Down, to writing game-changing scripts that are helping blaze a trail through the land of make-believe. “I enjoy working with these guys. There’s no nonsense. Let’s get to work and make the best stories that we can make.” When I talked about War Party’s newfound way of re-imagining entertainment, Simon agrees, mentioning that filmmaking has taken on a “fast food” type vibe, where blueprints are followed and formulaic paths are cemented.
Simon is a guy who rebels against the repetitive ground of creation, and he does that without incentive, yet anchored by committed choice. When I spoke with him, I got the vibe of a guy who has fully immersed himself in what needs to be done to redefine what entertaining an audience should mean. He’s tasted every bad cup of water the business has offered, and he is leaning into the new initiative that he is on. Taking old things, dusting them off, and making them better.
One thing is for sure. Adam G. Simon is dedicated to the fight against bored movies. He has a War Party tattoo on his body, and the goal imprinted on his soul. Something tells me it has been there for a long time though, choosing the right time to bust out.
2019 marks the start of the breakout. Expect to hear, see, and acknowledge this name a lot more in the coming years.