John Carpenter’s Escape From New York has almost come back to life a handful of times since the sequel, Escape From LA, put the Kurt Russell version of the property to bed back in 1996. New Line was going to produce a reboot with Len Wiseman lined up to direct in 2007, but then Breck Eisner took Wiseman’s place in 2010 before the studio let the option drop all together in 2011. At that time, names like Gerard Butler, Jeremy Renner, and Tom Hardy were being floated as potential stars. In 2013, producer Joel Silver acquired the rights and was fixing to turn the property into a trilogy that would kick off with a new origin story, but the hypothetical franchise never came to fruition. The thing that all those unsuccessful projects had in common? No involvement from Carpenter, and as Kurt Russell told Empire magazine in 2013, “The problem is not Snake. You can find a good Snake. You gotta get John Carpenter.” But The Tracking Board is reporting today that Robert Rodriguez is in talks to direct an Escape re-up executive-produced by the mastermind himself. According to The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox is also hoping for a new franchise, with production slated to begin later this year. (Rodriguez is also directing Alita: Battle Angel for the studio.)
That brings us to the matter of the movie’s hero, Snake Plissken. A new franchise surely means they’re not aiming to bring Kurt Russell back, and in his Empire interview the actor said he’s not interested in reprising the role as an older man, because, “If you’re going to do him, do him young. He’s one of those guys.” Since it’s no longer 2007, Gerard Butler’s name has likely left the short list of Snake candidates, but Renner and Hardy are bigger deals now than they were ten years ago (particularly Hardy), and could still be viable candidates. But two of those guys, Butler and Hardy, violate Russell’s second cardinal rule for who gets to wear the treasured dystopian outlaw’s eye patch: He’s gotta be from the good old U. S. of A. “When it comes to Snake, I can tell you one thing … he’s American. It’s really important that he’s American. There’s a reason why that great fight in the arena [in Escape From New York] is with a baseball bat. That’s American, OK? He knows what he’s doing with that bat in his hand!” Well then it’s a good thing Jason Momoa is American!