On Snake Plissken and Escape from New York

Kurt Russell and director John Carpenter had a great working relationship for many years. 

They first came together on the TV biopic of the king, Elvis, then Russell played Snake Pilsken in Escape From New York, and headlined The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China.

In the last several years we’ve seen the Carpenter classics remade including Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Thing, as well as his smaller gem The Fog, and it’s been a terrible development for fans of Carpenter, like myself, who love the best work he did in his glory days.

And of course, there were also plans for an Escape From New York remake, which now appear to be scuttled.


The next take on Escape From New York was set up at New Line with Breck Eisner, director of the well received remake of The Crazies. For those who aren’t horror inclined, it was a 1973 George Romero flick post-Night of the Living Dead, with producer Neal Moritz (the Fast and Furious series). 

Deadline also reported that one of the screenwriters named for the reboot was Jamie Moss (X-Men First Class), and Gerald Butler and Tom Hardy, who plays Bane in the Dark Knight Rises, were in the running to play Snake Plissken.


In Escape From New York, the city is so over-run with crime by 1997 (which was the future in 1981), that it has become a prison. The brooding Snake Plissken is tasked with rescuing the President, who is being held hostage somewhere on the dystopian island. 

Now Carpenter’s always loved westerns, and Plissken was written in the spaghetti western anti-hero mold. (The film also starred spaghetti western veteran Lee Van Cleef). Although Escape From New York wasn’t among Carpenter’s best, Russell wasn’t thrilled that it was also in danger of being remade.

As Carpenter told MovieMaker, Russell is “very passionate about what he’s done in his career and the characters he’s created. I’m a little more cynical.”


“I grew up in a time when we didn’t do sequels. You just did a movie because you wanted to do a movie and you wanted to tell a story,” Russell told MoviesOnline.

“It wasn’t to build a franchise. I’m a bit locked into that. I did Escape from L.A. because I wanted to play Snake one more time, and I wanted to work with John one more time.”

Russell also said he’d consider a cameo in the remake, but only “for a sh*tload of money…and I mean a sh*tload!”