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‘Upgrade’ Director Leigh Whannell Will Pen the Script for the ‘Escape from New York’ Remake

Following his criminally underrated job duty as director on one of last year’s best action flicks, Upgrade, Leigh Whannell is stacking up his schedule with some big projects that should have many people very excited moving forward. Per Collider, last week started with the news that Universal has brought Whannell aboard to write and direct The Invisible Man for their previously titled Dark Universe, which has now been scrapped for a much more “hands off” approach that allows director’s to just make great movies. That was then followed by a report from The Hollywood Reporter that reveals that Whannell is now attached to at least write a remake for the classic John Carpenter film Escape from New York.

Before we move to the news, if you are unfamiliar with Escape from New York, here’s a little backstory. The sci-fi action movie was released in 1981 and stars Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, a convicted bank robber who is currently in prison. It’s set in a future where Manhattan has now become one big maximum security prison island, and after the President crashes down in its borders, the one-eyed criminal is tasked with bringing the President back from hell.

If you haven’t seen this movie, I cannot recommend it more. It’s awesome on every level possible. Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken is completely badass and the idea itself was way ahead of its time, which means it’s prime for a remake. A remake has been talked about for years now, and while I’ve never been 100% behind the idea, after seeing Upgrade, it’s safe to say I’m completely onboard. Whannell is the absolute perfect choice for this project, even if it is just writing. But let’s get serious, there’s no way he’ll write this project without at least have the option of directing. The only question is when this and The Invisible Man take place. Let’s hope they aren’t similar in dates.

I can’t continue on without mentioning what THR reported about Whannell’s take on the property. According to THR, he “is kickstarting Escape with a new vision for the project that sources say will retain elements of the original but bring new ideas to the table. One of Whannell’s goals is to avoid the bloated tentpole remake path that afflicted the reboots of other 1980s-era movies such as Robocop and Total Recall.” If you’re going to remake this property, that’s exactly the kind of mentality you want to have going into it. The biggest issue Whannell or whichever filmmaker steps in the director’s has is casting Snake Plissken.

This is one of, if not Russell’s most iconic character. There’s very few roles for anything that you can say “not anyone can play it,” Snake Plissken is one of them. The studio and filmmakers have to be very careful and smart when choosing someone to take on this character, and hopefully that also includes Russell in the process.

Whatever happens, the addition of Whannell great either way. His work on Upgrade creates a very smooth transfer to this project and its script. It also means that the remake is finally happening and not continuing to stay in limbo. What do you think of this news? Are you one who thinks a remake shouldn’t ever happen? Any ideas for a new Snake Plissken? Leave all your thoughts in the comments below!

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