‘Escape From New York’ Remake In Search Of New Bad-Ass Snake Plissken

We won’t be wasting breath discussing the unnecessary inanity behind remaking John Carpenter’s still awesome and highly entertaining 1981 classic, Escape From New York. No, we already did that back in 2007 when it was first announced. Instead we’re just going to update you with the latest news on the project and ask who you think could possibly fill Kurt Russell’s shoes.

Per New York Mag’s Vulture blog, New Line has put the remake on the fast track because they’ve finally found a script that excites them. Allan Loeb, the writer behind 21 and the upcoming Wall Street sequel, has apparently “nailed the humor in [Snake] 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.” So that’s cool. I was worried there wouldn’t be enough witty banter in between the messy and dull action/sci-fi scenes. Plus, now there’s a role for Katherine Heigl!

The Vulture piece goes on to illustrate an immense knowledge of the original film by claiming that another attractive aspect of Loeb’s script is that it doesn’t require a post-WWIII NYC backdrop. See, instead of the destroyed metropolis we saw in Carpenter’s film the new version will feature an intact NYC that has simply been evacuated, walled-in, and then filled with convicts. An absolutely brilliant re-invention of the original story by Carpenter and Nick “The Shape” Castle!

The original remake announcement had director Len Wiseman and star Gerard Butler attached, but neither man is associated with this new incarnation. So the question becomes who should direct the movie, and who should star as the one-eyed, ex-military, renegade criminal? Before you answer with your Sam Worthingtons and Russell Brands, keep this in mind…

The contract New Line signed with Carpenter apparently stipulated three things that must be part of the remake. Snake Plissken must retain his name. He must wear an eye patch. And he must, under every circumstance, “always be a bad-ass.” That my friends, is why Carpenter is still awesome (even if he hasn’t made a good movie in over fifteen years).

So who do you think should play Plissken? Some folks have already mentioned Josh Holloway from ABC’s Lost, and while I wouldn’t necessarily be against that idea I’m not sure if he has the charisma or cache necessary to carry a feature film. Others have suggested Tom Hardy (Bronson) which would be interesting, although I expect New Line will want a bigger name. Butler’s name may come up again but with the exception of Law Abiding Citizen and RocknRolla I really haven’t bought into his performance when it comes to action films. (Although they’re better than his romantic comedies… eesh.) I already mentioned Worthington and it’s a given that his name will be tossed in at some point, but like Butler the man apparently came to this country sans personality so I’d rather he didn’t get the role. So where does that leave us? What actor is bad-ass enough to fill Russell’s shoes in the role of Snake Plissken?

(Thanks to The Playlist for the heads up on this story.)

Who do you think should play Snake? Who do you think should direct?

Rob is the Chief Film Critic of Film School Rejects. He doesn't eat cheese on weekdays.

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