A few years ago, a remake was in the works for John Carpenter’s 1981 sci-fi post-apocalyptic action film Escape From New York. New Line cinema couldn’t get the project off the ground and let the rights expire. Now Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures and Studio Canal have picked up the rights. These two production companies are planning to team up in order to create a new franchise based on the original film.
Yes, you read that correctly. A new franchise. Silver is planning an origin story for the first film, and two follow-ups to make a trilogy. The plan is not unlike Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which served as a reboot as much as an origin story. Therefore, we can expect more than just a rehash. We’ll have to wait a while to see what exactly that means as a script currently has not been written. Silver’s next plan of action is to find a writer.
Even though we are early in the production, you can’t help but wonder how this film will be cast. The 1981 original starred Kurt Russel as the tough-as-nails eye-patch-wearing Snake Plissken. Who will replace him for the new film(s)? The reboot that was attempted a few years ago had several rumored casting choices. Names that were thrown around included Gerard Butler, Jeremy Renner, and Tom Hardy. Now that a few years have past these actors are now part of new franchises themselves. You also can’t help but assume that since they are planning on three films the producers will want someone a little younger.
Studio Canal and Silver Pictures have previously teamed up on several Liam Neeson vehicles (Unkown, Non-Stop), which could mean that there is some sort of possibility he might be featured here too. As mentioned above, the film-makers are probably looking for someone younger for the lead role, but there are other major opportunities for Neeson to appear. Remember in the original that the veteran actor Donald Pleasence played a major role as the President of the United States.
Another questions is what will the fans of the original film think? Based on the (lack of) critical consensus and moderate success of other recent reboots there is definately a reason to be nervous. However, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and to a lesser degree Batman Begins have shown that origin stories as reboots can be sucessful. Granted, both of those franchises had much more history and story to draw from for their origin/reboot film. In order to create a feasable Escape From New York origin film, it seems like the film makers will have to add in a lot of material.
Are you a fan of the original? What do you think could go wrong/right?