Much like fellow ’80s genre master Stephen King, John Carpenter is also in the midst of a renaissance. The sequel to Halloween was a hit, The Rock is working on a Big Trouble in Little China reboot, and now a remake of Escape from New York is inching ever closer to production.
The reboot from Fox has just landed screenwriter Leigh Whannell to pen the new version of the 1981 classic. Whannell was also recently tapped to helm Universal’s The Invisible Man remake, so apparently Hollywood sees something in him when it comes to remaking legendary genre pictures. Whannell’s biggest claim to fame so far is as the writer for several films in the Saw and Insidious franchises. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Whannell is “kickstarting Escape with a new vision for the project that sources say will retain elements of the original but bring new ideas to the table,” with a goal “to avoid the bloated tentpole remake path that afflicted the reboots of other 1980s-era movies such as Robocop and Total Recall.”
The original film starred Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, an outlaw and former Special Forces agent who is hired by the government to rescue the President of the United States from Manhattan. In the film, which takes place in the far-off dystopian future of… 1997… Manhattan has been turned into a giant lawless prison, filled with convicts who cause chaos in the streets with no hope of escaping to the mainland. It’s into this crime-filled den that Snake must venture to rescue the president and, in the process, clear his own name.
It’s unclear how much of the original story, which is delightfully cheesy, Whannell plans to keep for his adaptation, but it is good to hear he’s looking to make a smaller film while avoiding modern franchise traps. There’s no release date for the film yet, but we’re definitely excited to hear more.