‘Escape from New York’ reboot going ahead with Carpenter attached
After a lengthy bidding process, Fox has secured the rights to the 1981 cult film, Escape from New York, according to Deadline. The studio is looking to move ahead on a reboot fairly quickly, and John Carpenter – who co-wrote, directed, and even co-scored the original film – is attached as a producer.
The original Escape from New York was released in 1981 and quickly became a cult classic. The film depicted a dystopian future, following a 400-percent spike in crime throughout America. By the year of 1988, Manhattan had been abandoned and turned into a maximum security prison, where no civilians – or even guards – were allowed to set foot.
An attack on Air Force One resulted in the President crashing landing into the prison. There the “Duke of New York” takes him hostage, demanding the release of all prisoners within 24 hours or the President will be executed. After the security forces fail in their rescue attempts, they turn to a former Special Forces soldier turned rebel, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell). If he can rescue the President within the remaining 22 hours, he will receive a full pardon. If not, the injection they gave him will kill him.
According to Carpenter, the film was written immediately in the wake of Watergate, and it reflected a bitter cynicism that much of the country was feeling. At the time though, no studios wanted to make it, because “it was too violent, too scary, and too weird.” It took over four years, but Carpenter eventually secured funding through Avco-Embassy Pictures.
The studio wanted an established actor for the role of Plissken, specifically Charles Bronson or Tommy Lee Jones. Carpenter fought for Russell, who at the time was best known for his role in Disney movies, but was eager to shake that image. Carpenter got his way, and Russell became a star.
The film was a critical and commercial success, enough to launch a sequel in 1996, Escape from L.A. The sequel was a box office bomb.
A reboot has been in the works for years now at multiple companies. In 2007, Gerard Butler (300, Olympus has Fallen) was in talks to star, with Len Wiseman (Total Recall, Underworld) attached to direct for New Line Cinema. Wiseman eventually departed, and Brett Ratner (Horrible Bosses, the Rush Hour films) was rumored to be in talks to take over, but nothing came of it. Butler left soon after.
In 2010, Jeremy Renner (Avengers, The Bourne Legacy) was in talks to take over the title role, but New Line then dropped the option on the film. Joel Silver was briefly attached to produce, and several names were thrown around for the role of Plissken, including Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim), Jon Bernthal (Fury, The Walking Dead), and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb), but no official talks ever took place. A bidding war for the property began a few months ago, with Fox emerging as the winner.
Given that the rights have only just come to Fox, it may be a while before we see significant movement on the film, but it is in development. When casting begins, expect there to be a lot of talk and speculation as to who should play Plissken. A whole lot.