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Escape from New York – Remake gets a script


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?


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