The Internet has been buzzing this week with news of an "Escape From New York" remake. In the original, Kurt Russell starred as an eyepatch-wearing ex-military man-turned-criminal charged with rescuing the U.S. President from the confines of a post-World War III Manhattan, which has been turned into a maximum security prison. It holds up as a fun action flick, but the idea of a reboot remains an intriguing possibility, and one of the more inspiring selections in this ever-growing trend of revisiting Hollywood classics.
Sadly, we don't know much just yet. New Line is moving forward, based on a script written by "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" scribe Allan Loeb. Creator John Carpenter stipulated that the lead character of Snake Plissken must wear an eyepatch and be portrayed as "a badass," but little is known beyond that. We got Loeb on the phone to talk about the project, and while he couldn't say much given its current 'in-development' status, he did drop a few hints to whet our collective appetites.
"I see it as a big movie," he said in reference to the scale of the remake in comparison to the original. "I see it as possibly, hopefully the beginning of a franchise." As any super-fan knows, this won't be the first attempt to continue the story of Snake Plissken.
"I know [New Line] tried with 'Escape from L.A.' a few years back and it didn't work out but [it's] try, try again [in] Hollywood. I definitely think of it as a big movie. I think New Line agrees [on] the possibility of a franchise, and bringing back Snake Plissken is very exciting."
Ah Snake. Such an unforgettable character. And it seems that everyone agrees. "The character of Snake Plissken is just one of the most memorable names," Loeb said. "Whenever i tell anybody that I'm doing the 'Escape' remake, the first thing they say is 'Snake Plissken.' and then I say 'well do you remember what the movie was about?' And a lot of them say 'New York... something with getting out of there... but Snake Plissken! Kurt Russell with the eyepatch!'"
To what does he ascribe to the popularity of Russell's iconic role? "I don't know why, but it's a very memorable name phonetically," Loed said with a chuckle, "and it's a character people attach to. I know that's a lot of the interest in bringing this character back to life and possibly, hopefully doing some kind of franchise."
With Carpenter's stipulations for the character -- the eyepatch, the badass attitude -- it leads us to wonder exactly what kind of input he'll have in other aspects of this reboot. "I don't know how much John Carpenter is involved," Loeb said. "I don't think he's involved extensively. I know I did my work without his tutelage."
That said, the writer is game for bringing back at least one of the original players: Russell himself. "The only reason I would think [he wouldn't be involved] is if Kurt didn't want to do it," Loeb said. "I'd be the first to jump on my computer and find the cameo for you. If [New Line] asked me to, it would be a lot of fun."
That said, this remake is all about introducing the classic kickass hero archetype from 1981 to a new generation. "Bringing back Snake Plissken is very exciting. As well as the [underlying story] and the title 'Escape from New York'... we believe that there's a chance to re-tell that idea. [But set] in this day and age, and still have it be very exciting and interesting. Put four walls around the island of Manhattan, drop in the world's most dangerous criminals and what's the ecosystem that arises?"
Who do you think would be right to play Plissken? What elements from the original movie would you like to see carried over for the remake? What would you lose from the original?