Escape From New York reboot: Leigh Whannell on possibly casting Wyatt Russell
It has been over a year since it was reported that The Invisible Man director Leigh Whannell had been tapped to pen the Escape From New York reboot film, and now Whannell has finally opened up about 20th Century Studios’ upcoming remake of John Carpenter’s iconic 1981 film. Speaking with JoBlo, the Upgrade director was asked about the possibility of casting Kurt Russell’s son Wyatt Russell (The Lodge) to take on the mantle of Snake Plissken from his father. He revealed that casting Wyatt Russell might happened because it “seems like the obvious thing to win the fans over.”
Whannell further explained how difficult it is to adapt and give justice to such an iconic movie like Escape From New York, and how it differs from his upcoming film The Invisible Man. “It’s funny, I’ve been so busy working on this film where I haven’t had time to circle back around on that project. Sometimes these press releases go out before you’re ready, you’re like, ‘Don’t tell the world!’ I don’t actually know, I really don’t. That is an iconic character and I think that Snake Plissken is a part of people’s childhood and their adolescence. It’s near and dear to them. So I would tread very carefully with that. I feel like a property like that doesn’t have the same freedom as maybe something like ‘The Invisible Man’ does. He has more elasticity as a character because so many people have had their fingerprints on that. There’s been TV shows and comic books, whereas with Escape from New York, we’re talking about one definitive movie here and you don’t want to mess with it. We’ll see what happens.”
It was previously reported that Whannell’s vision for the film will retain elements of the original while also bringing new ideas to the table. Whannell wants to avoid the “bloated tentpole remake path” that afflicted other reboots of 1980’s classics like Robocop and Total Recall.
There is no current deal for Whannell to direct, but it is possible he could take over directing duties as well. Neil Cross (Luther) was originally attached to write the movie with Robert Rodriguez set to direct before both dropped off of the project.
The original 1981 John Carpenter classic was set in a future (then 1997) where Manhattan had been turned into an island-sized maximum-security prison. When the president of the United States crashes into the decaying city, an outlaw (played by Kurt Russell) is coerced into traveling inside to rescue him.
Whannell previously worked with Jason Blum on Insidious: The Last Key and Upgrade and will be reuniting with the producer on Universal and Blumhouse’s upcoming Invisible Man film which is set to premiere in theaters this February 28. He also wrote the comedy-drama The Mule, the first three films in the Saw franchise, the Insidious franchise and Dead Silence.
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