A remake of John Carpenter’s 1981 cult classic sci-fi action film, Escape from New York, has been in the works for many years. However, the film has been stuck in early development with different directors signing on to helm the movie, then backing out, while many actors were rumored to revive the role of Snake Plissken (originally portrayed by Kurt Russell), including Timothy Olyphant (Justified), Jeremy Renner (The Avengers: Age of Ultron), Jason Statham (The Expendables 3), and Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road). Additionally, reports on the premise of the film have varied from a straight remake to a prequel that would reboot the series.
In terms of a prequel, and specifically how New York City becomes the dystopian supermax prison seen in the original flick, Joel Silver, who will produce the new Escape from New York with StudioCanal and Silver Pictures, explained that they were inspired by the video game Batman: Arkham City. However, little about the upcoming Escape from New York remake has been learned in the months since Silver’s comments, until a recent report revealed a new shortlist of actors to revive Snake Plissken as well as some insight into the reboot’s script.
STARLOG is reporting that a source close to the production of Escape from New York has revealed three actors that Silver Pictures have on their shortlist: Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim), Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead), and Dan Stevens (The Guest). While none of the three have read for the role, Hunnam is apparently the top choice now that Sons of Anarchy is finished. However, his commitment to Pacific Rim 2 (and possibly also King Arthur) may make him unavailable to take the role.
Also according to STARLOG’s source, Escape from New York will follow a similar plotline to that of the original: the U.S. president crash-lands in Manhattan, a maximum security prison, and is captured by prisoners; ex-soldier and convicted bank robber, Plissken, is sent in to rescue the president. However, the remake will be more team-based as Plissken recruits prisoners to help him in exchange for passage off the island.
Read the breakdown of Plissken’s team:
“Plissken’s team consists of Mina, a warzone journalist framed for murder and living in the shadows of New York as a scavenger; Cabbie, a schizophrenic travel guide who serves as comic relief; Gareth, the last surviving member of the President’s security detail who harbors a dangerous secret; and The Brain, Plissken’s former partner-in-crime who left him to die after a botched robbery.”
According to the source, Escape from New York will have a “dark tone” and will be “less tech-based” despite the futuristic dystopian setting. It will be “more of a gun-and-run thriller.” In terms of directors, the source didn’t reveal any names but said a “definitive answer” would be given before year’s end.
This report should be taken with a serious grain of salt, but it is the most insight into the Escape from New York reboot fans have been given since the film was announced years ago. Whether this news is good or bad depends on the perspective.
While straight remakes of movies that don’t offer enough new elements to entertain audiences new and old tend to underperform at the box office, it appears, from this report, that Escape from New York is attempting to put a new spin on the original premise.
However, team films - as we’ve seen especially this month - can either do very well (Guardians of the Galaxy) or very poorly (The Expendables 3). At this point, it’s too early to tell whether Escape from New York will offer a fun experience or rehash old action/sci-fi film tropes, but at least it seems the studio is making headway on the film that has been stuck in development for many years.
Escape from New York is still in very early pre-production.