Escape From New York: Who Should Fill The Legendary Boots?
I’m always surprised by just how few movie fans have seen Escape from New York, so here’s a brief summary of John Carpenter’s 1981 hit. Alternatively, if you want to avoid spoilers, enjoy the original trailer courtesy of YouTube:
It’s 1997 and there’s a full-blown World War III going on between The United States, Russia and China. Manhattan Island has been turned into a prison fortress surrounded by a fifty-foot wall and with all exits blocked with mines and explosives. Unfortunately, Air Force 1 is hijacked by terrorists and The President is forced to escape directly into the heart of Manhattan. He is immediately taken prisoner by the…prisoners, who plan to use him as a bargaining chip/human shield and get off of the island. Enter Snake Plissken. Played by Kurt Russell, Snake is a former war hero turned criminal, desperate to earn his freedom. He is tasked with rescuing The President and recovering a secret cassette tape. From there the movie goes into full action mode with Plissken stealth gliding to the peak of the World Trade Centre, battling the self-proclaimed Duke of New York and meeting Rizzo from Grease and Toot Toot from The Green Mile.
Now, Silver Pictures and Studio Canal have announced concrete plans to revisit the franchise, starting with a prequel to the original! There is some suggestion that the movies will be a little more complex than the typical 80’s action sci-fi of the time period. There are reports of the script focusing on a more intellectual and fluid approach to the eco-system and world in which an island becomes a dungeon fortress and World War III kicks off in the mid-nineties.
Snake Plissken never really achieved the long-term notoriety of other action heroes of the 80′s, but at the time the character was heralded as one of the greats, and Kurt Russell was highly praised for his performance. The imagery of the character – eye patch, jacket, tattoo, sneer and remarkably clean hair, are all still iconic to Escape From New York fans, but with a whole new generation of film goers ready to fall in love with the bitter, sarcastic man of action, who would be the right actor to take over?
Early reports (I’m talking six years ago) cited star of 300 Gerard Butler as a strong choice, but not long after he left the project stating creative differences. Bear in mind that this was five years ago in the project’s development and a great deal has changed in that time. Tom Hardy is reportedly another strong contender – his performance as Bane in last year’s The Dark Knight Rises was a high point of the Nolan series, and having played all manner of bad-asses before, its not hard to imagine him taking on the role (though Tom Hardy is currently playing the role of another iconic 80′s action hero in the form of the new Mad Max film). Other choices include star of Justified and Dead Wood, Timothy Olyphant and marshmallow-faced Jeremy Renner, (though his representatives claim the part is yet to be offered to him.)