we announced that Joe Carnahan, director of Narc and next month’s Smokin’ Aces, would be answering your questions on his blog, The response was terrific, and I sent off a whole bunch of questions to Joe this morning. The guy didn’t waste any time and he turned them right back around to me, so I’m happy to present the first batch of Joe Carnahan answers to your questions.

There are more coming – including more about Mission Impossible 3, easily the most asked question (I am talking hundreds of emails about it) – but I still need more questions! Send your Carnahan Qs to me at, with Smokin’ Joe Carnahan in the subject line so they don’t get lost in the spam. Feel free to ask Joe about anything under the sun – this sonuvabitch is gonna answer the hell out of your questions.

Hey Joe,

Big fan of Narc (one of my favorite movies) and HUGE fan of White Jazz (one of my favorite books) so naturally i’m really excited that you’re directing. No. 1 question, though, will Dudley Smith be in your adaptation?

Thanks, Adam


Dudley will unfortunately not be part of the adaptation and that grieves me to no end. If you’re a fan of the books then you know that he was alive and well, albeit chopped up at the end. Since the film LA Confidential made the choice to off ‘The Dud’ at the end and I’m treating this film like a sequel to that one, my brother and I, in writing it, chose to create a new character.

I hope this doesn’t send all those Ellroy fans off the rails. It’s a really great adaptation though and I’m thrilled to get into it.



When Narc came out, it was a well known how much trouble and sacrifices you went through in order to get it made. How did the experience of getting Aces made compare to the Narc experience?

Chris Anthony


Two things: Money and Honesty. I can honestly say those two things best described my experience of making ‘Smokin’ Aces‘ versus ‘Narc‘. We weren’t blessed with the best intentioned of investors on NARC and we paid the price in delays, duress and general disgust. These were not the most forthright cats in the biz. On SMOKIN’ ACES however, I had both Working Title and Universal on board, so it was a pretty smooth sail. Also I didn’t have to worry about them unleashing a torrent of bullshit to cover up for misappropriated funds and the like. They were straight up in their dealings with me. I don’t mean to sound all pissy. NARC was made exactly the way that film should’ve been made. The strain and dread and angst that hung over that production, seared itself into the completed film, so while there was little joy on the set, the end result was well worth the hassle.



Hi Joe.

How do you think this movie compares to movies of the same vein like Snatch, True Romance or Pulp Fiction? What is it about Smokin Aces that separates it from the rest in the Crime Comedy Genre?

Good luck with the movie and i hope you rule with White Jazz!!!

Cheers, Santiago


It separates itself in a number of ways, but I think most profoundly, it is a movie that requires you to invest in and care about, every single character on-screen. I don’t throw anybody away and there are no small parts, so everyone that you see is pretty important. I want you to have to engage on some emotional level, somewhere in the film and I wanted to avoid this movie becoming an overly-hip exercise in style and deal more in substance. Whether or not I was successful is up to individual tastes. But I hope you’ll dig the experience.



hey Joe,

I’m a big fan of movies, but if I had to pick a favorite genre, it’d be crime.I like seeing monsters,aliens,and people weeping as much as the next guy,but i’d much rather see some guys get slaughtered over a suitcase full of dirty money/drugs/dirty drugs.I get the feeling you have a soft spot for crime cinema as well.So tell me, What are your favorite crime movies?Inspirational or not.

Michael Martin-del-Campo


So many movies, so little time. Some of my favorites are as follows: Brute Force, The Killing, Point Blank, The Getaway, Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia, The Anderson Tapes, Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, Blood Simple, Heat.

But that list goes on man, those are just a few off the top of my head.



What was it like working with cruise on narc and with the so called creative differences with MI:III(which saw you leave the project) would you still consider working with the guy again?

p.s you need to do a movie with Jason Statham



Cruise was instrumental in getting NARC out of the small art house circuit and into big Paramount where they really pushed it and gave it a reasonable wide release for what was a 3 million dollar film. So I’ve got nothing but love and admiration for what he did.

Now. MI3. We’re not only talking a horse of different color, we’re talking about an armored plated Trojan Horse, seven stories high. Going from a flick like NARC and its pittance of a budget, to the stratospheric amount we were about to spend on that flick, is akin to a newborn, starting at Quarterback in the Super Bowl. It’s difficult enough to make a film, but when you develop opposing agendas, it becomes truly ‘impossible’

I never felt overwhelmed though. What I did feel was underappreciated which was unfortunate because what we were going to do would’ve been extraordinary. I was consciously going to try and take the piss out of the ‘Bourne‘ series and we were so close…then, for reasons too vast and varied to get into here, I had to bail.

Would I work with Tom again? My younger brother is. He just wrote the script that Cruise is starring in next.