With Breck Eisner’s successful remake of The Crazies under his belt, he’s moving on to slightly more revered territory – an updated version of John Carpenter’s classic, Escape From New York. In an interview with MovieHole, Eisner recognizes how crucial the casting of Snake Plissken is and reveals that Timothy Olyphant (Justified) would be at the top of his list of contenders:
Creatively, he would be great for it. We have not yet discussed internally within the studio who will play Snake Plissken. There are many factors that go into those discussions. First and foremost, obviously, is the creative one. We can’t make the movie unless we get the perfect Snake Plissken, and that’s a tall order. There are very few guys that could do it. He would definitely be one of the guys who could. There is no question about that.
He also discussed his take on Escape From New York and how it would differ from Carpenter’s:
The reality of Escape from New York today is that the social meaning of it is not true any more. The movie is a comment on urban decay. The suburban flight. All of that was coming out of the late 70s and early 80s. When the movie came out. That doesn’t exist today. The thought for me is, “Is there any relevance today to make Escape from New York?” When we were developing it, when I was looking at it, and I was analyzing it, I realized that the world is a completely different place. New York has a completely different character now than it did back then. The idea of turning it into a prison is a completely different level of social commentary. I liked the idea of discovering this movie through a completely different set of eyes in a different decade. That gave me the confidence that there is a reason to make this movie.
It was back in February that New Line Cinema announced their plans to take another pass at the Escape From New York remake. The news came after a previous attempt to resurrect the property several years earlier had resulted in a revolving door of directors and star Gerard Butler (who had been set to play Snake) jumping ship. While I can appreciate what Eisner is getting at here, I want to share this one last quote because I think it’s important:
Escape from New York wasn’t a low budget movie for the time, but John Carpenter was working from this much bigger canvas. A lot of things, like the president’s plane crashing into the building? It was quite telling that they had a simulation on an Atari video screen. There are a lot of places in that movie where its obvious that Carpenter wanted to do bigger and better, and cooler things. He couldn’t, because he couldn’t afford that. We can do that now.
This is a very different situation than The Crazies. The main reason being that the original Crazies wasn’t very good. There was a lot of room for improvement. It also didn’t have a fan base as passionate as Escape From New York‘s or a role as iconic as Snake Plissken. The fact that you can do a version that’s bigger and better is hardly justification and it’s going to take a lot more to convince me that this is a good idea.
However, I’m a fan of Timothy Olyphant as an actor and the potential for his involvement is the only thing that’s piqued my interest. The problem is that Kurt Russell is so closely associated with the role that it’s hard to imagine anyone successfully reinterpreting it. In fact, I’d much rather see Russell as an older, meaner, version of Snake in another sequel, but I’ve accepted the fact that it will never come to pass. Besides, anyone who made it through Escape From L.A. has already survived one crappy remake of the original.
Would Timothy Olyphant be a solid choice for Snake Plissken? How do you feel about the Escape From New York remake gaining momentum again?