Frank Grillo may get the chance to reprise one of his most fan-beloved characters in a sixth installment of the Purge franchise.
Currently, the fifth film in the collection, The Forever Purge, is in theaters telling the story of wealthy ranch owners and immigrants battling for survival as the United States crumbles around them. Frank Grillo does not appear in the fifth movie, nor did he show up in number four. However, that doesn’t mean he’s done with the franchise or that writer and creator James DeMonaco is done with him.
Speaking to SlashFilm, DeMonaco revealed that he is toying with a concept for a sixth movie that will bring back Frank Grillo’s Leo Barnes character. He was introduced in the first sequel The Purge: Anarchy and reprised his role once again in The Purge: Election Year, making him one of the few characters to exist as connective tissue between the franchise’s installments.
“Dude, my Purge 6 idea is all about Frank [Grillo]. It’s all about the Leo character. Without giving anything away, I think he’s off on his own, but he’s going to be called back into action, hopefully on Purge 6, if we’re lucky enough to do it,” DeMonaco shared. “I hope that Leo comes back. That’s the goal. When I came up with Purge 6, he was the center of the idea. I’m hoping that we get to do that with him.”
While DeMonaco clearly has high hopes for both Frank Grillo and a sixth movie in the franchise, the fact of the matter is that the fifth movie only just hit theaters. Given the notoriously volatile time theatrical releases have been having due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unclear if the public’s appetite for another Purge movie will justify giving the go-ahead to number six.
However, a glimmer of hope for fans of the thought of Frank Grillo returning comes by way of the trusty Fourth of July weekend box office. The Hollywood Reporter notes that The Forever Purge came in third behind Boss Baby 2 and, of course, F9. So, with SlashFilm revealing that horror bigwig Jason Blum is champing at the bit for another movie, box office numbers through the roof, and DeMonaco clearly being excited by his own idea, it’s possible another Purge is on the way with Leo Barnes in the hot seat once again.
The Forever Purge was envisioned by DeMonaco, who wrote every installment of the franchise, including the two-season run of the TV show, as the final chapter in a collection of films. They were originally envisioned as a small, one-off indie film he made on a budget in 2013. However, after Blum and Universal saw the potential in the story’s gimmick, DeMonaco says he’s getting pressure to keep going and write Frank Grillo back into the fold.
Fortunately, Frank Grillo has made it clear that he would jump at the chance to step back into The Purge universe. He told Collider in January of 2021 that he would “do it in a heartbeat” provided that DeMonaco can come up with a good story that does his character justice.
For those unfamiliar, every Purge story is based on the idea that the United States has implemented a system in which all crimes are legal for 12 hours, one night a year. By and large, the movies focus more on that conceit rather than anyone singular character. However, Frank Grillo’s Leo Barnes provides some connective tissue between the films, and his inclusion in a sixth would essentially make him the face of the franchise more so than he already is.
Frank Grillo first appeared in the sequel as a grieving father and LAPD sergeant whose son was killed by a drunk driver just before the annual Purge. As a result of the technicality, the event presents, his son’s murderer walks free and he spends the following Purge on a relentless, action-packed quest for revenge.
Frank Grillo returns in Election Year, portraying Barnes as more of a governmental figure and a key cog in backing the political movement that seeks to end The Purge and expose it as the wealthy’s attempt to cull the poor in the U.S. rather than its intended purpose of letting pent up Americans blow off some serious steam for 12 mayhem-filled hours