“I heard you were dead!” – The Duke, Escape From New York (1981)
Don’t believe everything you hear. After a cutthroat bidding war, Fox has emerged victorious in the battle for the rights to remake John Carpenter’s 1981 classic Escape From New York.
Carpenter will serve as executive producer and have a degree of creative control on the project. Fox’s Mike Ireland shepherded the project and will continue to help guide it as it hopefully launches a new franchise.
In the original film, Kurt Russell played Snake Plissken, a sleeveless badass with an eyepatch and near-constant sneer who is tapped to rescue the President of the United States after Air Force One crashes in New York. Except this isn’t the fun, restaurant-filled New York City we know; it has been transformed into a maximum security prison full of dangerous criminals. With only 22 hours, Plissken must infiltrate the city, liberate the president, and a special tape containing a speech that is the key to defusing international warfare. If he fails, he’ll be blown to smithereens thanks to the explosives with which he has been wired.
This isn’t the first time that Hollywood has attempted to reboot the series. Back in 2000, John Carpenter, Debra Hill, and Kurt Russell were planning a TV version of the franchise that would take place in the near future in a world devastated by natural disasters. Snake Plissken would have served as a President-appointed agent of the United Nations to wander the world and try to save the last vestiges of humanity. The head writer of the series? None other than Howard Chaykin. Alas and alack, it never came to pass.
There have also long been rumors about a third film, titled Escape From Earth, that would have seen Snake Plissken trying to escape from a planet Earth on it’s way to total armageddon, but it never came to pass.
Studios had tried to remake the film in the past too, but none had the involvement of John Carpenter. Rumors mentioned that the film was ready to be cast with Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) in the lead. Word on the street also has it that Chris Hemsworth was rumored to be eyed for the part.
While I have no doubt that many other fantasy casting and rumor-mongering pieces will emerge in the days, weeks, and months ahead, let me give you one name that merits serious consideration for Snake Plissken 2.0: Emily Blunt.
Your move, Fox.