Robert Rodriguez Signs On To Direct ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK Remake

Robert Rodriguez built his career on moderately budgeted Mexican genre films such as DesperadoFrom Dusk Till Dawn, and The Faculty as well as the family-friendly Spy Kids franchise. He hit it out of the park with Sin City, which he co-directed with original graphic novel creator Frank Miller. His next two project, Grindhouse (with Quentin Tarantino) and its spinoff Machete also did well. However, he seemed to hit a downward slide with their sequels, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and Machete KillsFrom Dusk Till Dawn: The Series on his self-started El Ray Network was doing well but it looks like its going to be rebooted or cancelled. He just finished shooting James Cameron‘s Alita: Battle Angel manga adaptation, which fans are hoping will be a return to form. According to a report from Deadline, he’s already lined up his next project: 20th Century Fox’s Escape From New York reboot.

The original 1981 film directed by John Carpenter (who will be producing this film) featured Kurt Russell as ex-soldier-turned-criminal Snake Plissken, who is arrested and offered his freedom for sneaking onto the island of New York City, now a maximum security prison, and rescuing the President of the United States (played by the late Donald Pleasence) who managed to survive after Air Force One is hijacked and crashed there. The film was a success and a huge boost to Carpenter and Russell’s careers and influenced such celebrated people as novelist William Gibson, video game designer Hideo Kojima and filmmaker J.J. Abrams. Rodriguez himself also heavily referenced and paid homage to the film in Planet Terror, his contribution to Grindhouse.

The last word on the reboot was back in December of last year, when Neal Cross (CrossbonesLuther) came on-board to write the script, replacing earlier screenwriter Allan Loeb (Collateral BeautyWall Street: Money Never Sleeps). That same month, The Wrap also listed purported plot details about the film:

  • The world is said to be in chaos, with “one in every seventy-five human begins is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking asylum.”

  • New York City isn’t a maximum security prison this time around, instead described as “breathtakingly lovely” city. “Manhattan is the island we know, but with more towering glass structures and a high, undulating glass wall. The sky is alive with drones as serene as bees, and artificial intelligence controls all in the form of an ethnically ambiguous, cheery young woman called April. A small staff of technicians and researchers known as ‘Seers’ monitor all.”

  • Snake Plissken’s real name is revealed to be Robert and he’s a former Special Forces colonel. He also has 11 hours to complete his mission.

  • The original’s  Police Commissioner Bob Hauk (played by Lee Van Cleef) will be gender-flipped into CIA Deputy Executive Director Roberta Hauk.

  • A massive hurricane called Superstorm Ellery will play a part in the film.

  • The main villain is described as “a lean, intensely charismatic playboy named Thomas Newton…heir to an agrochemical and biotech corporation.” Newton has a failsafe, which is a device called Fat Boy, which is described as an “ominous, dull metal sphere about the size of a car, in a nest of conduits and cabling.” This will presumably come into at during the film’s climax.

It’s unknown if Cross’ draft is still being used, if Rodriguez will take a crack at a new draft or if he’ll bring someone else in. While many fans are against the entire idea of Fox remaking this film, and considering Rodriguez’s storied history as of late, there are many who are actually behind this project. Seeing as how Planet Terror was basically “Escape From New York with zombie mutants”, I think this project is better in his hands than in someone else’s. That doesn’t stop this from being just another one of Hollywood’s assembly line franchise reboots.

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