According to Deadline.com New Line and Warner Brothers have let their option lapse on the proposed remake of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.
The project to resurrect the Snake Plissken character (played by Kurt Russell) and the 1981 John Carpenter Sci-Fi action film by Neal Mortiz (THE GREEN HORNET) with Breck Eisener (THE CRAZIES) now must fish for other studio backing, if any are interested in biting.
Moritiz and Eisner are also currently developing a feature film reboot of King Features’ venerable FLASH GORDON science fiction action property, a classic character that might be a good fit for the current CGI, 3-D driven summer “tentpole” trend.
Airlock Alpha reports that director Breck Eisner (THE CRAZIES) is still working on his FLASH GORDON project. and hoping for a ‘franchise’.
Though the article mentions that Eisner doesn’t plan to retread old ground, it sounds like he plans to do exactly that. The film’s to be yet another origin story.
Eisner is quoted as saying that the film will be an origin story and goes on to say the following:
“The comic from 1930s was made into serials in the ’50s and ’70s, then the director’s version in the ’80s. It was campy and the effects were not so good —this version is in no way a remake. Our version goes back to strips from ’30s and we will update those and shoot the movie as if the strips were drawn today. It will be an action and adventure sci-fi.”
The `30’s Flash Gordon strips were adapted with a surprising degree of faithfulness in the three Universal Studios serials from 1936 to 1940, starring Buster Crabbe. There were no serials (in the sense of chapterplays) in the 1950’s or 70’s, unless he’s referring to the 1950’s FLASH GORDON television series that starried Steve Holland (pictured, with Irene Champlin as Dale Arden). This series set Flash & Co. as intergalactic government agents in the far future.
Filmation’s NEW ADVENTURES OF FLASH GORDON cartoon series aired from 1979 to 1980, and was intially based on the 30’s strips, though it eventually wandered off into more whimsical kiddie fare.
The campy 80’s FLASH GORDON with Sam Jones was an attempt to update the same Mongo story, as was the recent low-budget SyFy series.
While it’s commendable to want to be true to the original Alex Raymond strips, Flash Gordon has a wide and galaxy-spanning 70 plus year history of diverse adventures. It’s not limited the story of Mongo, Ming the Merciless and the attendant souped-up historical costume melodrama of the early years of the strip done over and over again.
It was like a mix of John Carter of Mars and Prince Valiant, with a touch of Ruritanian romance and sprinklings of Robin Hood in the early years. In later days, the comic strip went off more in the direction of space opera, with more space travel and science fiction concepts.
I’d like to see a film that did not attempt go back to the well and try to carry the same recycled water in a fancier jug.
According to The Hollywood Reporter Breck Eisner (THE CRAZIES, SAHARA) is in negotiations to direct the remake of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK for New Line. The studio have been trying to get a remake of the 1980s action film off the ground for a while now but seem to have finally settled on Eisner as the man to helm the project.
New Line secured the rights to remake ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK way back in March 2007 with Gerard Butler (300, GAMER) attached to star and Ken Nolan (BLACK HAWK DOWN) writing a script. The project was then banished to development hell as it lost Butler, was passed onto the usual array of writers and lost its director. Now it seems the remake is back on track but is still missing one thing; a lead actor.
The original film, directed by none other than John Carpenter (HALLOWEEN, THE THING), was set in a futuristic 1997 in which Manhattan had been turned into a giant maximum-security prison. The U.S. president’s plane crashes on the island, and ex-con Snake Plissken (played by legendary actor Kurt Russell) is coerced into a leading the rescue mission. Whether or not the remake will follow the originals plot this accurately is unknown at present.
Eisner did a surprisingly good job at remaking THE CRAZIES but Romero’s original film was in dire need of remaking; ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is not. I’m all for a remake if the original film doesn’t stand up today but ESCAPE still does and I can only see New Line making it worse, not better.
Cinefantastique Online will bring you more on this project as it develops.