The wheels on the Escape From New York remake are in motion once again. THR reports that 20th Century Fox is eyeing Sin City director Robert Rodriguez to helm their remake of John Carpenter’s dystopian action classic. Carpenter is on board as executive producer, and Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman of The Picture Co. (Non-Stop) will produce.
The 1981 film starred Kurt Russell as the iconic eye-patched tough guy, Snake Plissken. Set in an alternate U.S. future (comically enough now, it was 1997 in the original film), Escape from New York takes place in the converted streets of NYC, where the island has been transformed into a maximum security prison. After Air Force One crashes into the hostile streets, Plissken — a former special forces operative serving time for robbery — is given 24 hours to rescue the president from the inside of the prison, and save his own life in the process. Russell returned as Plissken for Carpenter’s sequel Escape From L.A.
After trading hands through a number of studios and drafts, the project landed at 20th Century Fox in 2015, when they won the rights in a bidding war. The report notes that Fox is hoping to revive and reinvent the franchise in the same mold as they did with Planet of the Apes, which has spawned three critically and commercially successful films since launching in 2011. The studio has a couple other adult-oriented IPs on the burner. They’re gearing up for a likely box office success with Alien: Covenant, which properly revives Ridley Scott‘s Alien franchise after the semi-prequel Prometheus, and they recently recruited Sleight helmer J.D. Dillard for their reboot of David Cronenberg‘s The Fly.
Rodriguez has been keeping busy in recent years with his TV network El Rey and their flagship series From Dusk til Dawn. He is currently in post-production on Fox’s James Cameron produced live-action adaptation of Alita: Battle Angel, which is scheduled to arrive in theaters on July 20, 2018. It’s been a while since Rodriguez has put out a movie worth writing home about, but he showed a knack for loving homage with Planet Terror and his films certainly never lack for personality. An Escape From New York remake is a tough sell to begin with, but with Rodriguez behind the camera, there’s a small comfort in the fact that you won’t get a by-the-numbers studio mandate a la RoboCop and Total Recall.