Joan Allen to play prison warden in “Death Race”


Yes, you read that right. Joan Allen has just

signed on

to play a prison warden in Paul W.S. Anderson‘s 2008 Death Race.

I’ll give you a moment to anticipate Allen, who is so effective at playing the strong, take-charge type, taking charge of an entire prison.

Looks like she’s enjoying the idea right along with us, no?

And now I’ll spoil your enthusiasm by saying that the movie, also starring Jason Statham and

Tyrese Gibson, sounds … well, awful. Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner are producing,

which is a count against it already, but what’s more, it’s a remake of Death Race 2000, a 1975

Sylvester Stallone/David Carradine “cult classic.” Descriptions vary from

“a future America in which prison inmates are forced to brutally compete in an enclosed arena”

(Hollywood Reporter)

to “a group of contestants on a cross-country race who score points for running down pedestrians”


The warden apparently runs the show.

Wow. I admire Allen tremendously, and I even like a solid action movie on occasion, but I’m having a hard time

understanding how this is going to be worthwhile. I’m pinning my hopes on Anderson’s assertion that Allen “kicks the most ass out of everybody.”

(Well, duh. Is he familiar with her acting skills?) And I’m also figuring that if she’s a warden, she’ll have to wear either a uniform or a suit —

and I do so enjoy Allen in a suit.

I am really looking forward to seeing Allen’s current release, The Bourne Ultimatum, which is getting

remarkably good


My impression is that in addition to being one helluva ride, it conveys a prescient political message. Indeed, Allen doesn’t seem

to do much entertainment for strictly entertainment’s sake; while not all

of her movies have fared as well as she has, most of them make a

statement of some sort, whether more political (Bourne, All the

), more interpersonal (Off the Map) or both


Does that mean I should have higher expectations for Death Race, or should I assume that everyone — even Joan

Allen &mdash has to make a misstep at some point?

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