EXCLUSIVE: Joel Silver‘s Silver Pictures has joined forces with Studio Canal to build a new franchise with a retelling of Escape From New York. The 1981 John Carpenter original starred Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, a tough convict dropped into a futuristic New York that has been turned into a post-apocalyptic maximum security prison. He’s charged with rescuing the president (Donald Pleasence), who is held hostage by the prison kingpin (Isaac Hayes) after his plane crashes within the city walls. Snake’s offered a pardon if he’s successful, but fitted with a lethal device that will kill him if he tries to run or misses the deadline.
A remake had been attempted not that long ago at New Line with producer Neil Moritz and The Crazies helmer Breck Eisner, with Gerard Butler, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hardy all mentioned as potentials to play Plissken. That effort ended when New Line let the option lapse almost two years ago.
Studio Canal, which partnered with Silver on the Liam Neeson action films Unknown and Non-Stop and the upcoming Sean Penn-starrer Prone Gunman, has entrusted Silver with the rights. Silver is planning an entirely new take on the material. The goal is to turn it into a trilogy, starting with an origin story in a fashion similar to the way Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes restarted that franchise. Studio Canal will finance development of the project before placing it with a studio. A writer search is underway.
Silver and Andrew Rona will produce. Silver’s EVP Alex Heineman will be executive producer. As for a new Snake, either Butler, Renner, Hardy or Neeson would hit the mark as the one-eyed tough guy.