John Carpenter has given the Escape From New York remake script his seal of approval. The original movie from 1981 starred Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, a one-eyed outlaw tasked with rescuing the President from New York, which has been walled off and turned into a maximum security prison. The film is a major cult favorite thanks to Russell’s iconic performance, the Carpenter-composed score and its dark depiction of the future.
Russell and Carpenter returned to the character for 1996’s Escape from L.A., which essentially remade the original in a new setting. The film was criticized for its camp humor and terrible CGI, and its box-office failure saw a planned third movie Escape From Earth - wind up canned. A remake has been in development for more than a decade, but it seems to finally be moving forward with Robert Rodriguez calling the shots.
The script for the Escape From New York reboot is by screenwriter Neil Cross, and in a new interview with Deadline the writer opened up about the project - and reveals he was terrified when he heard John Carpenter was reading his script:
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.
Actors like Jon Bernthal, Dan Stevens and Gerard Butler has been mooted for Snake Plissken in the past, but no actors have been cast in the role yet. Whoever plays the new Snake will have big boots to fill, as its hard to picture anyone but Russell playing that character. Cross’ Escape From New York script is said to change several key details from 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.
John Carpenter has been famously allergic to sequels/remakes in the past, but he seems to be more open-minded these days. He surprised Halloween fans by signing on for the new Blumhouse produced sequel as executive producer and composer and is said to have a heavy creative role in the production. While fans may be skeptical of this new take on Escape From New York, Carpenter’s blessing of the script offers some hope it can live up to the classic original.