It’s not without some degree of trepidation that we have to report that after several false starts, the remake of John Carpenter’s 1981 cult classic Escape From New York is apparently going to happen.
A remake of Carpenter’s film has been mooted for several years but it now appears to be going ahead with a script written by Neil Cross whose work includes the BBC cop drama Luther and will be directed by none other than Robert Rodriguez.
Cross spoke to Deadline about the project and how original writer/director John Carpenter had received his work;
“Robert Rodriguez is attached to direct and it’s looking good and exciting. It was quite a challenging script, it’s a challenging thing to reinvent. One of the most terrifying sentences I’ve ever heard in my life is ‘we’ve given the script to John Carpenter’. I crawled around for three days thinking ‘oh my god’ but we got John Carpenter’s seal of approval. He approved it and that’s all I need. You never quite know [if it’s done] but I might need to do some rewrites and do some nip and tuck but in the first approximation, my job is done.”
There’s no word yet as to when filming will begin, with Rodriguez tied up for the time being with next summer’s Alita: Battle Angel before he can move onto another film.
The original 1981 film starred Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, an eye patch wearing outlaw tasked with rescuing the US President after his plane crashed in Manhattan which, in the then future of 1997 had been turned into a maximum security prison. The film wasn’t a massive financial success upon its release but has gained a cult following over the years.
Russell and Carpenter reunited with 1996’s Escape from L.A. The sequel was a massively disappointing endeavour with poor CGI and was essentially a cheap knock-off of the original film’s plot and bombed at the box office.
In development for around a decade, the remake finally seems to have gained some momentum with the story said to be an inversion of the original. Instead of a prison, New York is a shiny metropolis policed by drones and A.I., and Snake has to complete his mission before a hurricane hits the city.
No actors have been named to take on Russell’s iconic character but previously names such as Jon Bernthal (The Punisher), Dan Stevens (The Guest) and Gerard Butler (300) had been mooted for the Snake Plissken role.
Carpenter seems content of late to give his approval to remakes and continuations of some of his best works and this was demonstrated by his recent endorsement of the upcoming Halloween sequel, with him signing on as an executive producer and composer. Earlier this year stories circulated of a remake of Big Trouble in Little China, with its proposed new lead Dwayne Johnson stating that the project had also gained Carpenter’s favour.
Whilst there do appear to be some talented people involved with the remake of Escape From New York, we here at Film ‘89 Towers cannot deny a certain amount of scepticism regarding it. The original is a deserved cult classic and we would hate to see another gem from our youth remade in the same fashion as the recent Total Recall and RoboCop fiascos. In fact, for a more detailed view on our thoughts on remakes, both good and bad, you can look here…