New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. have been working on a planned remake of John Carpenter’s cult classic action sci-fi action flick Escape From New York for several years now – but it seems they’ve finally decided to throw in the towel when it comes to re-imagining Snake Plissken’s adventure in a post-apocalyptic NYC. The companies have allowed the option on the property to lapse, meaning that the updating is officially dead at New Line.
New Line’s new version of the film was set to be a reboot of the 1981 title, which found Kurt Russell starring as anti-hero Snake Plissken, a convict tasked with going into a hostile New York City in order to save the president (Donald Pleasance) after his plane crashes and he’s taken hostage. If Snake finishes the job, he receives a pardon. If he fails to save the president in 24 hours, the microscopic explosives injected into his bloodstream will detonate and kill him instantly. No pressure.
It’s surprising that New Line and Warners have walked away from the project – a script (worked on by writers such as Jamie Moss and Allen Loeb) was in place and Breck Eisner (best known for his work on the remake of George Romero’s The Crazies) was attached to direct.
The sticking point may have been the casting. Filling Russell’s shoes was no small task, but names like Gerard Butler, Jeremy Renner, and Tom Hardy had been linked to the role. Renner scratched his action itch with the new Mission: Impossible film, a role in The Avengers, and a part in the newest Bourne flick. Hardy, meanwhile, is busy with The Dark Knight Rises and the two planned Mad Max films. Butler bowed out of the running quite a ways back.
Honestly, New Line scrapping an Escape From New York remake is probably for the best. Carpenter’s film still stands the test of time and a large budget Hollywood remake seems likely to have lost most of the low-fi charm of the original. Don’t break out the party hats yet, though – the option is still out there, meaning another studio could swoop in and claim the rights to develop the project from the ground up.