'Bad Boys 3' looking to reload with Joe Carnahan

Action filmmaker Joe Carnahan is in talks to rewrite and possibly direct 'Bad Boys 3'

Sony Pictures is looking to get back in action on "Bad Boys 3."

The studio is in early talks with filmmaker Joe Carnahan to rewrite a third installment of the pyrotechnic franchise about two fast-talking, loose-cannon Miami cops, with an eye to direct as well, The Times has confirmed. Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.

As the director of such macho movies as "Narc," "Smokin' Aces" and "The A-Team," Carnahan would seem to have the appropriate action bona fides to fill the shoes of Michael Bay, who helmed the first two films starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. The move would be an attempted comeback to the top tier of studio filmmaking for Carnahan, who after "A-Team" disappointed commercially and critically in 2010 ended up directing the well-reviewed but more modestly budgeted thriller "The Grey."

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If the deal makes, Carnahan would come on to a project that's long been in development, polishing a script most recently worked on by David Guggenheim ("Safe House"). The studio would then look to secure the return of Smith, who is shooting Warner Bros.' comic-book anti-hero movie "Suicide Squad." Whether he'd come back is an open question — after the troubled production of "Men in Black 3," Smith eschewed the chance to return to another franchise when he passed on the sequel to "Independence Day."

Lawrence has been hyping a "Bad Boys" threequel for several years and would likely be the easier get.

Although the first two movies — 1995's "Bad Boys," Bay's directorial debut, and 2003's "Bad Boys II" — both earned poor reviews, they combined to gross more than $414 million at the worldwide box office. With their glossy cinematography, wide-scale destruction and quippy humor, they also prefigured the rise of franchises like the "Fast and Furious."

Sony, meanwhile, has demonstrated an interest in reviving dormant franchises (while also searching for new ones). The studio released "Men in Black 3" in 2012, a decade after "MiB 2," and it will release a "Ghostbusters" reboot next summer, 27 years after "Ghostbusters II."

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