For years, Hollywood has been mulling over a big-screen remake of John Carpenter’s 1981 action thriller Escape from New York. However, while that project remains somewhere in development, the world was taken by surprise last week when it was reported that a new version of another Carpenter cult hit, Big Trouble in Little China, was moving forward at Fox.
Fans of the original film – as fans are known to do when a beloved release gets the reboot/remake treatment – were instantly up in arms at the idea of a modern filmmaker attempting to duplicate the playful tone of Carpenter’s original. Now Dwayne Johnson, who’s attached to play the lead in the new film, has dropped a bit of news that may help assuage the fears of fans who are skeptical about a Big Trouble in Little China remake.
EW recently caught up with Johnson, who weighed in on the fan response to the news. Here’s what the actor had to say:
“I loved reading the reactions from the fans, that they were so polarized – I’m the same way. My response is: know that I come to the project with nothing but love and respect for the original, which is why we want to bring on John Carpenter.”
Carpenter co-wrote and directed the original film and his involvement would certainly help win over moviegoers who might have otherwise balked at a Big Trouble in Little China remake on principle. It’s unknown at this point what role Carpenter might have in the new film, but if George Miller can deliver Mad Max: Fury Road after decades away from the franchise, there’s no telling the useful guidance Carpenter could bring.
While nailing just the right tone with the remake might be tricky, Johnson remains adamant that the plan is very much to retain the spirit of the original film. Moreover, the new film also hopes to reach out to original star (and Johnson’s Fast & Furious 7 co-star) Kurt Russell. After all, his performance as reluctant hero Jack Burton is a big part of what makes Big Trouble in Little China so popular with fans.
“I loved the original when I was younger and I loved the main character – all the characters. It felt like if we surrounded ourselves with the right group of people, the right writers who loved the movie too and wanted to honor it, bring on John Carpenter in some capacity… If we did that, then we have a shot at hopefully making something good.”
As previously reported, Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz – who wrote X-Men: First Class – are already attached to the remake. Johnson maintains that the project has a long way to go before production really revs up, and so there’s plenty of time to find the perfect approach to bringing the world of Big Trouble in Little China back to the big screen.
“Let’s see what feels good, what we can come up with and then go from there. And as we write it, if the whole thing starts to stink up, then we thank everybody for their efforts and accept this just couldn’t make it.”
Johnson’s determination to turn in the best film possible and, more importantly, one that lives up to the original’s legacy should be music to the ears of fans the world over. A Big Trouble in Little China remake may not have been on most moviegoers’ wish lists, but at least the project is being spearheaded by a star with a vested interest in honoring its inspiration. Here’s hoping that both Carpenter and Russell board the project in some way, to further ensure that the remake lives up to expectations.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for the latest on the Big Trouble in Little China remake as this story develops.