‘Escape from New York’ Remake: Tom Hardy & Jason Statham on Shortlist?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 27th, 2013 at 9:56 am,

Tom Hardy and Jason Statham in Escape From New York Escape from New York Remake: Tom Hardy & Jason Statham on Shortlist?

John Carpenter’s dystopian action-thriller Escape from New York (1981) is commonly held up as a cult classic with an iconic protagonist – that of Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), an Old West-style outlaw who wears an eyepatch and has a propensity for gunfighting. In this day and age, it was only a matter of time before the film was remade.

Joel Silver (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon) and Studio Canal are producing the latest attempt at a remake, and if a recent report is to be believed, their top two choices for the role of the ultimate American badass are British actors Jason Statham (The Expendables 3) and Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises).

For those not in the know, the plot of Escape from New York follows the recently arrested Snake as he’s sent to Manhattan Island – now a free-for-all prison with no, ahem, escape - to find and retrieve the President of the United States, whose plane crash-landed inside. To discourage Snake from just making a run for it, the government injects him with microscopic explosives that will erupt inside his carotid arteries and kill him if he fails his mission in 24 hours. Naturally, lighthearted hijinks ensue.

Escape From New York Snake Plissken Escape from New York Remake: Tom Hardy & Jason Statham on Shortlist?

Apparently, the new film will be, at least in part, a prequel in the vein of Rise of the Planet of the Apes that will lead to a trilogy of films. What that means precisely (will it be a sort of prequel/remake hybrid a la The Thing?) is anyone’s guess at this point.

Now, according to an “Hollywood insider close to the film’s producers” – courtesy of NY Daily News – the producers wants to get either Statham or Hardy attached to the role come summer-time. On Statham, the insider said:

“Jason is the type of actor who has the physical attributes and screen presence to reprise Snake. He has a proven track record as a leading man and would do a great job.”

And on Hardy:

“Tom was immense in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and deserves to get a break in a top role. This could put him firmly in the A-list.”

This isn’t the first time an actor from the United Kingdom has been attached to the role of Snake Plissken. When it was announced a few years ago that Gerard Butler would play Snake in an EfNY remake – to be directed by Len “Total Recall remake” Wisemen - there was a minor backlash to the casting decision with regard to his nationality. Kurt Russell was particularly displeased.

Said Russell:

“When I was told [Butler had been cast], my initial reaction was, ‘Oh, man.’ [...] I do think [Snake Plissken] was quintessentially one thing – and that’s American.”

While I don’t exactly agree that quintessentially American characters shouldn’t be played by non-Americans – Henry Cavill looks like a perfect fit for Superman – I do think that the non-American in question should at the very least be able to convincingly pull off being an American. Jason Statham has been great in a number of movies, but he isn’t exactly known for his uncanny American accent. (Did you know that his character from the Transporter series was supposed to be American? Because I did not.)

And that’s on top of the fact that Jason Statham is just a little bit follicly challenged. This wouldn’t be a problem for 99% of characters in 99% of movies, but Snake Plissken is a character known for his voluptuous brunette locks. What’s next – will Snake have both his eyes? Will he have a tattoo of a mongoose instead of a snake? Will he have a really high-pitched voice? Cats and dogs, living together – mass hysteria!

Escape From New York Reboot Prequel Escape from New York Remake: Tom Hardy & Jason Statham on Shortlist?

As for Tom Hardy, he’s certainly capable of pulling off an American accent, having done so convincingly in a number of films (Warrior, among others). The only problem with Hardy is that he’s already playing an iconic action hero established in the 1980s (Mad Max) in the upcoming reboot/sequel Mad Max: Fury Road. With Fury Road set to be released next year, how likely is it that the actor has any interest whatsoever in taking on two “reboots” of beloved 1980s franchise films? (Answer: Not very likely.)

Frankly, neither of these actors “scream” Snake Plissken to me, so I’m hopeful that Joel Silver, Silver Pictures, and Studio Canal go in a different direction, though of the two, my preference would definitely be Hardy.

What do you think, Screen Ranters? Would you be interested in seeing either Jason Statham or Tom Hardy take on the role of Snake Plissken? Let us know in the comments.

There’s currently no release date for the Escape from New York remake, but stay tuned for more news as it becomes available.


Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

Source: NY Daily News

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  1. as long as steve buscemi returns i will be happy

    • Like – Map to the Stars Eddie, classic. Still, he was in Escape from LA and not Escape from NY. Brain, Cabbie, Duke and the president were the other male characters in that.

    • actually he is in both, in escape from NY he plays a guy with almost no lines and he looks crazy young and has wierd makeup and doesn’t use his steve buscemi voice

      • Haha. That’s actually Frank Doubleday, who just looks vaguely like Buscemi.

      • Steve was in escape from LA

  2. Statham is all wrong, for all the reasons the article says! He can NOT play an American (and that’s coming from a Brit!!). His American accent is distractingly bad, ruins every film where he REALLY tries to pull it off (which is, thankfully, rare!). He’s fun to watch in his usual movies but they’re not Escape From New York classics and never will be (although neither will the reboot in all likelihood!!).

    Tom Hardy would be much, much better (and better than Gerard Butler, who looks the part but really can’t act that well). But even Hardy is still not right. He’s too short, for a start. There are plenty of American actors better suited.

  3. I was accused of racism on this site a few months ago for saying a German should NOT play James Bond and now I hear this!! I would imagine the USA are sick of us nicking their iconic roles – Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Lincoln etc etc etc. Still, I certainly agree with Gordon above – Gerard Butler can not act to save his life (sorry but true) and having the guy who remade Total Recall attached would have been disastrous! Having watched Total Recall the other day I can put it in my top 10 worst movies ever made. Statham’s not much better and both would be wrong to play Snake (incidentally my favorite film of all time). Thinking Hardy could do a job but Kurt will always be the man just like Peter Weller will always be Robocop, I am really stuck to think of another actor (in this day and age) who could play a decent Snake Pliskin.

  4. Statham=Terrible choice!

    • Matthew McConaughey for snake! LOL

      • Actually I think that would be inspired casting as he can pull off tough as nails bad ass

      • Yeah, and Steven Seagal as the warden. LOL

  5. Slightly confused on this article, are they planning on remaking escape from new york or doing a kinda reboot/prequal?

    Remaking EfNY is a bad idea, it doesn’t need remaking, are audiences out there clamouring for it, i doubt it.

    Doing a reboot/prequal with the character…. hell yes, Pliskin is a faboulous, dry wit character. As we know he WAS a war hero, maybe it’ll be good to see the change, how he lost his eye, why he rebelled against his government that he fought and scrifced for.

    Lets see Pliskin become SNAKE…..

    As for the actors, Statham = No, Hardy = maybe. Any votes for Jai Courtney??

    • “Slightly confused on this article, are they planning on remaking escape from new york or doing a kinda reboot/prequal?”

      Truthfully, it’s confusing because the details released are pretty vague so far. My assumption is that it will be some combination of a prequel/remake/reboot, a la The Thing.

  6. Jason Statham has already made a career out of playing Snake Plissken. So people would rather see Tom Hardy pretend to be Jason Statham, than Statham be himself and Hardy take on something more interesting like Child 44?

  7. Puh-leez. For starters, Tom Hardy is already on the A-list. Secondly, the producers have more chance of raising Bruce Lee from the dead than signing Tom Hardy for yet another b-o-r-i-n-g remake. Tom is too switched on and infinitely too talented a thespian to do something like this. The only saving grace with Mad Max is that we know he’ll do something special with the role.

    • Tom Hardy is great in every way. But too talented a thespian? Perhaps. However, he made “This Means War” just last year. So, um, yeah…

      • I’ve seen him on stage and watched his entire Film and BBC TV catalogue. There’s a very good reason critics compare him to Brando/Newman on the big screen, and Olivier/Burton on the stage, the guy is a force to be reckoned with.

        This Means War was a smart move on his part because it got him noticed by a huge female audience outside the UK, who would never watch movies like TDKR, Bronson, Warrior, Lawless, Rocknrolla, or even Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Inception. TMW was an action comedy that had people laughing a LOT in the cinemas, and was a fun movie. I’m glad he did it as it’s a 2 hour perve fest on how handsome and charismatic he is.

        For some reason great actors are not exactly matinee idol material, and hot looking ‘movie stars’ can’t act to save themselves. Why is that I wonder? Tom is that rare beast who has both qualities, and after seeing his incredible acting range in The Take, Stuart: A Life Backwards, and Bronson, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to be the biggest star in the world one day.

  8. “When I was told [Butler had been cast], my initial reaction was, ‘Oh, man.’ [...] I do think [Snake Plissken] was quintessentially one thing – and that’s American.”

    WOW Kurt one of the only times I know I can honestly say that comment makes you seem like an a$$hat.

    To assume the only character to portray a former U.S. Army Lieutenant, serving under Special Forces Unit Black LIGHT needs to be American is quite shocking, since I know quite a few people in the service now that are American yet have varied racial backgrounds.

    Just because someone has an accent does not mean they are not American. What a bunch of jack wagons.

    Gee Kurt can the character at least be black?

    Sorry….. :D

    Easy restart show Snake in his years jsut getting out of the Military and doing what he did to get jailed and the loss of his eye.

    2nd movie is NY following into LA. :D

    Or just make three movies based on Snake his military service, the screw job, prison, into escaping form NY.

    Just keep Kurt away from it.

    • Can you find a Black American? Always thought none existed becuase they are all African-American. Besides go read the book. Snake Plissken was a white guy. So no a Black guy can’t be Snake.

      • Yet The Kingpin can? Electro can?

        Why cant a fictional character be another race/sex/nationality than what they were originally written as keeping in mind the story has no bearing on it?

        The problem with you ‘thinking’ none exist is you are thinking in true stereotypical fashion.

    • I won’t defend his opinion that British people can’t play Americans, but his argument about Snake being “American” had less to do with him being a former U.S. Army Lieutenant and more to do with the character’s “who gives a ****?”, vaguely libertarian attitude toward the government, not to mention his Old West-style antics.

      • I didnt get that in his comment. I was basing on what Plisken was before he had his falling out and what led up to the falling out.

        He doesn’t give a hoot because he was betrayed or setup cant remember which but he lost faith in the Govt he supported.

        Anyone can come to America and be an American. They can support the country with their life and when they get betrayed by the same country they were willing to lay down their life for turn into a character with a libertarian attitude toward the government, not giving a hoot.

        So I only see his “I do think [Snake Plissken] was quintessentially one thing – and that’s American.” as asinine.

        Out of context? Possibly as I have not read the full article.

        • I truly mean no offense by this, but I think you’re missing my point.

          The point isn’t that Snake is LITERALLY an American, it’s that he’s symbolically a throwback to old-fashioned Americanism (by way of the wild west). His old-fashioned Americanism is supposed to be in stark contrast to the tyrannical, technological future that he exists in. Of course, you’re right that anyone can be an American, but if you were to cast a person who couldn’t convincingly pull of being an old-fashioned American, you’d be altering the entire point of not only Snake, but also Escape from New York.

          • I understand what you are saying but I believe Kurt meant it LITERALLY American.

            However even taking your point (which I understand the concept) the back story of Snake does not cater to that line of thinking.

            The scenario could be played out in any country so to speak. A person who believes in a structured society only to have that same society (or leaders of) turn on him creates the person that you describe as an old fashion American.

            I see it just as that. Something akin to Superman doing all good and representing the US only to find the US were the bad guys would have the same effect.

            I dont see it as a throw back to the wild west or Americanism. I see it as disdain for an authority figure you believed in only to find out it was a ruse.

            Again that is the back story I remember of Snake. It had nothing to do with Americanism. Patriotism? Sure. Betrayal? Yup. However again that could be for any country.

            We as a people can grasp the screw job. We have seen it, heard about it, etc. It is not a new concept. Following the screw job you always want to see the little guy screw right back. This is what Snake did.

            • I don’t think that’s how Kurt Russell meant it at all. If you watch the DVD commentary with him and John Carpenter, they talk at some length about what Snake is supposed to represent regarding America, and it’s not just that he’s literally American.

              • Well thats why I did say it may have been out of context. I dont recall if I have it on DVD/BR. I will check it out if I do.

  9. So what? Bane didn’t die and now he’s trying to escape from the prison he created when he released those inmates?

  10. i love Jason Statham but the mans star power has faded recently i think, he keeps pumping out all these action flicks with ridiculous story in which he basically plays the same character, now thats not to say the films are terrible i normally enjoy them but to then give him an iconic role like Snake Plisken in a cult hit i feel would dilute the movies success.

    Statham should be cast as the Antagonist here, i think he’d make an amazing villain

  11. Think Josh Brolin should be in the running for this.

  12. Just say no Tom Hardy.

  13. Statham without a doubt!

  14. As a second choice, what about Adrian Brody?

    • Buh??

  15. Timothy Olyphant or Josh Brolin Would work for me

  16. Out of the two, I’d rather see Hardy take it.

    Ideally though, Taylor Kitsch both looks and sounds like Snake (that’s if he uses his John Carter voice, not sure if it’s his real voice since I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in anything else).

    Even better would be if they just left it alone altogether because it’s like Robocop all over again. You can’t replace Snake Plissken just like you can’t replace Alex Murphy, Clarence Boddicker or Dick Jones.

  17. find new blood! theres only one kurt !!

  18. Begin a man that grew up watching the original,I don’t want this movie made over period,its a cult classic for a reason cause only a few if not more love this movie….come on Hollywood,your killing my childhood here.

  19. Hardy over Statham for Plissken. If that’s my only 2 choices. But why can’t we get an American for this? As far as the Superman comment goes or Batman for that matter. I have no problems with either of those 2 choices. Cavill is going to be a lot better than Routh was. I hated that movie and casting choice.

  20. I think Josh Brolin would be a perfect fit…..he’s definitely got the acting chops for it but a wildcard for such a role would be Joe Manganiello. Definitely looks like snake especially with an eye patch and his hair locks. couple that with a 5 oclock shadow and his physical size…you got yourself a badass. Anyone with me?

  21. I’m with you!! If they do a prequel a la ‘the thing’ that would be great. I loved what they did with that and it worked well (unlike the phantom menace and co they should be sent to New York). Statham is all wrong, he’s too clean to be Snake and so is Hardy tbh. Josh is a good choice, and not to be unfair to Josh but he’s done it before in Jonah hex.

  22. No. Just no. Tom Hardy is already rebooting Mad Max. Do NOT give him Snake, too. If it were down to just these two, it’d be Statham for me.

    That said, I agree in full with Russell. Snake is American. Cast an American. Or better yet, cast Kurt Russell and just make Escape From Earth (although they’d probably have to change the title since that stupid animated movie stole it).

    • I totally agree with regard to Russell. Snake is the kind of character that can BE an old badass.

    • What is an American? I mean when you say cast an American do you mean someone born in North America? Do you mean a legal Citizen of the United States of America?

      Actually the Escape from Earth or more directly the Snake in space was done with Guy Pearce in Lockout.

      So any attempt at putting Snake in space will be compared with that. Snake in space… just like saying that.

      • Seems more and more likely that the United States (certainly other countries) could be facing an ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK scenario whereby prisons are not so much over-crowded but under-funded, so inmates are freed from their cells but not from confinement.

        Imagine, Ryker’s prison in New York cannot afford to house, clothe, feed and medicate its population…got to let them out and fend for themselves, but within certain limits. Survival-of-the-fittest is not cliche banter but a life-or-death reality; the state (not the City of New York) has privatized border patrols holding the paroled (but not pardoned) convicts to a specific environment.

        Now, are we talking reality or fiction? Could happen in real life, if the economic trending continues to spiral, and the government can simply no longer afford its prisons.

        From this “possibility” all probability can bloom.

  23. Reading the article and a handful of the comments, several fundamental questions immediately arise in discussing the remake of this fabled or beloved…or whatever…film vintage 1981 by the producer of two other fabled and beloved films from the 1980′s. Put it this way, would anyone be ready for a remake of DIE HARD and/or LETHAL WEAPON? If so, then let’s press on.

    There are obviously (and hopefully) two more actors besides Statham and Hardy available to cast in the role of Snake. This sort of limitation on casting is claustrophobic. Is the acting pool in Hollywood so hermetically sealed that no fresh oxygen can get in?

    Are white male American actors becoming such “look-alikes” in the way all polar bears look alike…and more effeminate than masculine…that when studios cast for “a real man” they’re not only reaching out for Brits and Ozzies, almost in spite of their accents, but also the same Brits and Ozzies?

    To be sure, these same questions would be asked if some other “iconic” film was under consideration for a make-over. But since the movie in question is ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK — and allowing for the fact that this arbitrary remake cannot be (or ever be) like the original flick — what does it matter if Kurt Russell gives the casting his approval since his permission to re-do the film is not a requirement?

    Finally, beyond the marketability of the title thereby an implied action genre, there is no reason to rehab the movie in the first place except it’s the industry’s version of an ATM.

    All this being said, given enough time possibly every other action movie of note produced during the decade of the 80′s will be brought back like a zombi (TOTAL RECALL, RED DAWN, THE THING, et. al) as long as that cash machine hasn’t reached its limit.

  24. Hardy is the man if you have seen Bronson then you will know why LOL

  25. What about armie hammer, might be an interesting choice, looks like he can handle action based on the Lone Ranger trailers. What about Jeremy Renner?

    • Jeremy Renner was up for the role in a previous attempt at a remake. I think he’s got enough franchises on his hands at this point.

  26. Manu Bennett, Guy Pearce, or Thomas Jane

  27. Guy Pearce or Thomas Jane seem like good choices, loved T Jane in the punisher, between those two Id probably pick Jane first

  28. After watching Guy Pearce in Lockout, I could actually see him in a Escape from NY reboot. Even though Lockout more or less IS the same formula as Escape from NY!

    problem with him, is he would play Snake a little too smart ass.

    • Snake is a smarta**. You can’t be too much of what you are…or anymore than that. Same with being an a**hole.

  29. Am I the only American that would like to see an aging Kurt Russell play an aging Plissken in a now 666′d after escape from LA world!!!!!????? Total mad max old gun slinger world

    • An aging Kurt Russell…is a brilliant idea. But you may still be the only one. Hollywood, fans and the general “marketplace” is hung up on age; specifically, anyone between 45-50 (at the moment) with few notable exceptions are relegated to a supporting role/re: character part.

      Kurt returning as Snake (and not simply a gratuitous cameo) would be wonderfully out of the box but, unfortunately in today’s market, off the grid.