After what may have seemed like forever, the #EscapeFromNewYork remake has finally landed a director, and it's someone few people would expect. 20th Century Fox, the remake's producers, have tapped #RobertRodriguez to direct the film and as far as remakes go, this is one of the more inspired choices that could be made.
Rodriguez Goes To The Big Apple
As reported by Deadline, Rodriguez was chosen by Fox because of their healthy professional relationship. Not only is Rodriguez directing the studio's upcoming Alita: Battle Angel with the help of James Cameron, but Escape From New York will mark the fifth time he made a movie for Fox.
Prior to these two projects, Rodriguez gave Fox his mainstream Hollywood debut Desperado and the two Machete movies, all of which have dedicated cult followings.
Studios have been struggling to remake Escape From New York as far back as 2007, but it's only now that the project has finally gained some traction and credibility outside of rumors. After winning a dragged out bidding war for the rights of John Carpenter's movie in 2015, Fox hired Neil Cross of Luther fame to bring the story of Snake Plissken to a new generation of viewers.
The hope is to transform the remake into a franchise, similar to the new Planet Of The Apes films.
First released in 1981, Escape From New York takes place in an alternate 1997 where Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) must rescue the American president (Donald Pleasence) from the maximum security prison that was once Manhattan Island. Snake only has 24 hours to complete the mission before he's killed by the very people who forced the mission on him. Escape From New York was followed by a sequel titled Escape From L.A.
Given how many rewrites the remake went through (including a prequel and a more contemporary setting than a dystopian one), there is still no word on what the new version will add to the story.
The cynical nature of Escape From New York and its central anti-hero have since become major influences in pop culture, resulting in a cult following and many characters who were inspired by Snake. One of the most famous fans of Escape From New York is Hideo Kojima, who used the film's protagonist as the inspiration for Solid Snake in #MetalGearSolid.
Watch the trailer for Escape From New York below.
By virtue of it being a remake and considering the lukewarm response the remakes of John Carpenter's movie have received, Escape From New York may seem like a lost cause before it even gets to the casting. But with Rodriguez's involvement, viewers may be in for the first truly great Carpenter remake.
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Rodriguez And Carpenter
Long-time fans of Rodriguez's works know that the man worships Carpenter.
Carpenter made a name for himself by helming some of the most popular cult classics ever made, and these pulpy but professionally-made films influenced Rodriguez when he was just a budding filmmaker. Rodriguez even cited Carpenter's The Thing and Escape From New York as two of his favorite cult films and major inspirations in an interview with Time magazine.
Not only that, but when Rodriguez finally got his own TV station (#ElRey), he interviewed his idol on the show The Director's Chair. Rodriguez then let him host an episode of the indie director spotlight on El Rey, The People’s Network Showcase. As expected, Carpenter hosted the segment dedicated to up and coming horror filmmakers.
Watch a trailer for the episode of The Director's Chair, featuring John Carpenter, below.
The two have since grown close, and their respect for one another was made more obvious when Carpenter posted his support for the coming Escape From New York remake on Facebook, saying:
Robert Rodriguez is directing "Escape From New York". I am thrilled. He is a great director.
Considering how Carpenter normally couldn't care less about his films getting remade so as long as he got paid in royalties, his vocal support for a fellow filmmaker who's now getting his hands on what many consider to be an untouchable classic is heartwarming and reassuring for fans of both directors. If there's someone fit for the job of remaking Escape From New York, it's a fan like Rodriguez.
Escape From New York stands out because Rodriguez's love for the prison movie was obvious in some of his works. The original Machete faux trailer had a briefing between the titular anti-hero Machete (Danny Trejo) and the shady Booth (Jeff Fahey) that was directly lifted from Escape From New York, and Rodriguez's overall trashy, low-budget aesthetic wouldn't have been possible if not for Carpenter's signature visual style.
At worst, Rodriguez's version of Escape From New York would be just another pale imitation of a well-known movie, but at best, he could bring new life to it while still paying respect to the original. Since Rodriguez and Carpenter respect one and another, it's safe to say that right now, Escape From New York is in safe hands.
What do you think of Robert Rodriguez direction the 'Escape From New York' remake?