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Escape from New York – Remake gets a script

Posted by LiveFor on February 11, 2010

John Carpenter’s Escape from New York is a classic and deservedly so (we won’t mention Escape from LA). Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken is one of cinema’s greatest antiheroes. It is one of those films that still stands up today and you would be hard pressed to capture that kind of magic again.

Of course that means nothing to Hollywood who have been trying to get it remade for a few years now. Len Wiseman was set to direct it and Gerard Butler was rumoured to star as Snake. Things moved on and creative differences meant they were no longer attached and a workable script just didn’t seem to be possible. Everything put forward was just too expensive for the studios. John Carpenter also had a contract drawn up saying that in any remake the main character had to only be called Snake, always wear an eye patch, and, “always be a ‘bad-ass.” John Carpenter is always cool.

Scripts for the remake could never capture the essential bad-assedness needed for Snake. Until now.

Now Vulture have the news that writer Allen Loeb (Wall Street 2) has written a script has Snake Plissken as a bad-ass and is cheap enough for the studios.

Loeb nailed the humour in Plissken without slipping into camp, and he changed Snake’s rescue-mission target from a president to a female senator, thereby upping the banter quotient. But just as big a factor was economic: They found a much cheaper way to turn Manhattan into a giant prison.

This cheaper way was to keep the city in one piece, but the population evacuated.

This Manhattan was evacuated and turned into a privately run penal colony after the detonation of a crude radioactive dirty bomb on the outskirts of the city. “It is not a disaster movie,” says a source close to the project. “It is an exposé of an ecosystem, if you put a huge wall around Manhattan and then dropped in the most fucked-up, dangerous criminals on Earth.” This means New York will still be recognizable to audiences, à la I Am Legend, rather than an entirely new Armageddon Island.

Whack a great big wall around the place (CGI could take care of this) and there is your prison. I am not sure about changing the President to a female senator. Going to rescue the President (Donald Pleasance in the original) straight away told you how big a deal the mission was.

Like in the original movie, the authorities have set up shop in the Statue of Liberty (though this time it’s not the police, it’s a private, KBR-like security company), and now new prisoners are being processed through Ellis Island.

At least it sounds as if they have put a bit of thought into it all. Yet, it could so easily be terrible.

There is still no need for a remake, but it looks as if it is going to happen. Therefore, who should direct it, but more importantly, who has the balls to play Snake?

13 Responses to “Escape from New York – Remake gets a script”

  1. pjowens75 said

    “I have a really bad feeling about this.”

    • liveforfilms said

      I know what you mean, but what do they need to do to make the remake work?

      • pjowens75 said

        I wish I was more familiar with the current crop of actors. Because no how good every other aspect of the project is, without a decent Snake, it’s a waste. I do think Gerard Butler would do a pretty good job.

  2. “he changed Snake’s rescue-mission target from a president to a female senator, thereby upping the banter quotient.”

    Even if I had been favorably inclined to a remake of this movie (which I am not), the above would have killed any interest.

    Snake is badass. Banter is not badass. Banter is anti-badass.

    The remake will take a classic of the action genre and apparently turn it into a sanitized action romcom.

    I wonder if they will make Snake sparkle in daylight.

    Fortunately, I have the original on DVD, and this will not reduce my enjoyment of the original even one iota.

  3. Rich said

    I voted for Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo from “Rome”). Man can do some serious badass.

  4. Phil said

    I loved EFNY ever since I saw it late night on BBC1 as a teen. I’m not opposed to remakes as a rule and this is no exception. The original is great, a real cult classic. The sequel… less so.

    Snake is a great character. I’ve been looking forward to a big budget re-make since I heard they were thinking of doing it.

    I do agree with Kurt Russell’s assertion that Snake is an American!

    • liveforfilms said

      What bits, apart from Snake, from the original would you like to see feature in the remake?

      • Phil said

        The soundtrack!

        I hope they move away from the Mad Max hubcap armour, bondage gear and football pads and do something more contemporary with the costume; Like the Book of Eli or even Resident Evil Extinction.

        I think Snake should ditch the lycra too.

  5. EFNY had just the right actors playing the roles from Russell to Stanton to Borgnine and on. Pretty typical of Carpenter’s films of that time.Surrounding Snake with a great supporting cast is the key, he really needs people to play off of and react to. Snake is of course a catalyst of action, but don’t expect him making grandiose speeches and mugging for the camera. If they can carry this over from the original movie, then all is well. I can’t really pick any of the names off the list because Kurt Russell is Snake…I think you might have to go with an unknown…

  6. cezmullin said

    I think Josh Holloway from Lost could pull it off.
    He’s got the attitude would certainly look the part, much more than Gerard Butler.

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