Interview: ‘Wheelman’ writer/director Jeremy Rush

With Netflix’s Wheelman, writer/director Jeremy Rush set out to make something different.

Working with a simple setup (getaway driver gets sabotaged, spends entire night figuring out who wronged him), a first rate leading man in Frank Grillo and dynamite producer (Joe Carnahan, launching War Party with Grillo), Rush tricked out the action thriller genre entry like a fast car lover would with an old muscle car, replacing an old engine with sophistication instead of the ordinary expectation.

The result was an 82 minute thrill ride, punctuated by pulpy excitement and an exhilarating energy; an experience that triggered old school cinema which relied on its own idea of cool instead of recycling someone else’s model. Continue reading “Interview: ‘Wheelman’ writer/director Jeremy Rush”


‘Wheelman’ trailer: The love child of John Frankenheimer’s car chases and Michael Mann’s action sequences

Jeremy Rush and Frank Grillo aim for something different.

Jeremy Rush’s Netflix original film, Wheelman, features a very angry Frank Grillo-and for good reason. Grillo’s expert driver is pulled away from a job right before he is betrayed and whisked around town by a mysterious voice on a cell phone. He is shoot at repeatedly while getting his daughter out of harms way and trying to figure out who kicked him down the rabbit hole of “holy fuck” bad nights.

Rush isn’t here to make a standard action film that gives you temporary arousal; Wheelman aims to be something else. In the 100 second trailer that dropped Monday, he dials up the tension by introducing old fashioned yet potent SOUNDS into the viewer’s eardrum. The burnt rubber of a tire on wet pavement. The sudden shocking sounds of broken glass from gunshots raining down on Grillo’s Porsche.

It’s like John Frankenheimer’s car chase scenes had sex with Michael Mann’s action bravado, and Wheelman is the fucking baby.

Excuse me, but I like angry Grillo. Frankly, I like all types of Grillo, but this is my favorite blend. The authentic man of action is at his best when he plays anti-heroes with nothing to lose and plenty of reason to be pissed off. When we first meet his driver with no name, Shea Whigham’s criminal is getting into the car and treating the car like a Starbucks, becoming all chatty with the man behind the wheel. Grillo wants none of that bullshit. He’s a professional and his world runs on time.  Continue reading “‘Wheelman’ trailer: The love child of John Frankenheimer’s car chases and Michael Mann’s action sequences”

Wheelman: A Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan joint

This action flick brings two special talents back together.

Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan teaming up for the action adventure flick Wheelman may not be the Beatles getting back on a stage together but it’s pretty damn close.

Back in 2012 when Carnahan’s The Grey was released, Grillo was just beginning to surge into the mindsets of moviegoers. He had just wowed them with Warrior and would rock them with his small and pivotal role in End of Watch later that summer. Carnahan’s ode to dangerous men fighting wolves and themselves in the brutal cold resonated with me on several levels, and reminded me of how gifted of a filmmaker Carnahan was.

No matter how many movies I see, Carnahan’s Narc never leaves my head when I think of expertly well done cop films. Ray Liotta playing this desperate misguided and stricken detective trying to make one thing right no matter how much wrong it involved. Joe is one of those directors that won’t work just to work. He wants the film to be personal and unlike anything you’ve seen before. That’s why he left certain big level projects. It’s his way or it’s no way. I respect that in a land of performers who aspire for mediocrity if it promises them a paycheck.

Grillo is your natural drop of action authenticity and has enthralled a legion of fans for years. An actor with more flavors than people give him credit for(just shut up and watch DirecTV’s Kingdom) and his performance in The Grey often gets overlooked because of some giant called Liam Neeson and the wolves these men had to starve off. Grillo’s John Diaz wasn’t a good man, but he wanted to move closer to that way of life in his final moments. Here, Grillo goes toe to toe with Neeson.

So when I heard Grillo and Carnahan were getting together for Wheelman, an action flick written and directed by Jeremy Rush, I was pumped. With these two guys, it doesn’t matter what the material is. If they are laying their hands on it, the script must be juicy and the probability for asskicking success has to be high. They’ve waited five years to work together again and it could lead to more collaboration, via Joe’s twitter account.

Wheelman is about a getaway driver who gets betrayed by his crew and must do whatever it takes to save his wife and kid. Simplistic, to the point and ready to thrill. Grillo and Carnahan aren’t trying to share some space on the podium at the Oscars here. They want to entertain the shit out of you because that lasts longer than a shiny trophy. They have no delusions of grandeur saved with their films. Their work is the kind you keep hearing about and eventually check out only to be blown away. The film also represents Grillo’s first foray in producing.

Wheelman should debut sometime in 2016 and in the mean time, you can catch Grillo lacing up his gloves all over Hollywood this year. After knocking Captain America around in Civil War, he will reenter Kingdom’s Navy Street as Alvey Kulina, the maker of men and inner turmoil in the world of MMA. He will reprise his role of Sergeant Leo Barnes in July’s Purge: Election Year as well as starring in Beyond Skyline and Stephanie later this year. Carnahan wrote and directed a few episodes of State of Affairs in 2014-15 and is prepping Bad Boys 3 for launch here this summer.

Wheelman will be known as when Frank Grillo and Joe Carnahan got back together and started their Hollywood domination plot. Get involved in this now.