Joseph Aaron Carnahan (born May 9, 1969) is an American independent film director best known for his films Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane, Narc and Smokin' Aces. He is the brother of screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan.
Born in Delaware, raised in Detroit, Michigan and Sacramento, California, Carnahan became employed in the promotional department of Channel 31, a local Sacramento television station, when he began producing short films in the mid-1990s with 'Wired to Blow' and 'Gunpoint' as well as 'For Sale By Owner.' In 1998 he won some cult and critical acclaim for his film Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane which premiered in September 1997 at the New York's Independent Feature Film Market and later at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.
He directed the 2002 Detroit set thriller Narc, starring Ray Liotta and Jason Patric. At one point he was solicited to direct Mission: Impossible III, produced by Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner (who also executive produced Narc), however he subsequently left the production due to conflicting views on the tone of the film. It was also announced in October 2005 Carnahan would be directing a film based on the life of convicted drug dealer Will Wright, but the project seems to be abandoned.