That ‘Escape From New York’ Remake Doesn’t Sound Like Much of a Remake at All
A remake of Escape From New York has been in development for years, but when Fox hired Luther creator Neil Cross to write the screenplay last fall, it seemed like the project was finally picking up some legitimate steam. It’s been over a year since we last heard anything about the remake of John Carpenter’s cult classic, but a new report has revealed several key plot details from the film — which doesn’t sound like much of a remake at all.
Potential spoilers ahead!
Last we heard, Carpenter himself had come aboard to executive produce and creatively oversee the project, and according to The Wrap’s new report, that’s still the case. That report also reveals a slew of plot details — most notably that the New York in Cross’ screenplay is not a prison, which was kind of an imperative part of Carpenter’s original story. The 1981 film took place in a post-apocalyptic future in which the island of Manhattan has been transformed into a maximum security prison. When the President of the United States (Donald Pleasence) unwittingly finds himself stranded on the island, a wise-cracking prisoner by the name of Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell) is enlisted to save him in exchange for his exoneration.
According to The Wrap’s report, the remake deviates from Carpenter’s original story in some big ways, starting with the setting:
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.
An all-seeing A.I. program that controls everything and takes the form of a young woman sounds an awful lot like the Resident Evil movies, right? That’s just the first of many changes to the story, which won’t open with Snake Plissken’s apprehension — or even in New York; instead, it will open in another major city outside of the U.S. The remake will also reportedly reveal Snake Plissken’s real, full name, which was not divulged in the original.
The remake is said to still take place in the near future, in which a global crisis has turned much of the world’s population into refugees as a huge superstorm approaches. As for the villain, that’s been changed from the Duke of New York to a more timely corporate baddie named Thomas Newton. Described as “intensely charismatic,” he’s the “playboy heir to an agrochemical and biotech corporation.”
There are some other purported changes, including the gender-swapping of Lee Van Cleef’s character (now a CIA deputy named Roberta Hauk) and the time limit for Snake’s rescue mission (now 11 hours instead of 22). It’s unclear how Snake’s services will be solicited or what exactly he’s rescuing the President from (the weird A.I. program? The corporate bad guy? Who knows).
The Wrap also notes that Fox is still hoping that the Escape From New York reboot will launch a new series of films in the vein of Planet of the Apes, a detail previously reported last fall.