Escape From New York: Upgrade Director Leigh Whannell Will Write Remake

Leigh Whannell will write the screenplay for the highly-anticipated Escape From New York remake.

Escape From New York Remake

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Leigh Whannell will write Fox’s upcoming Escape From New York remake. 

Whannell is perhaps best known as the writer/co-writer of such horror films as Saw and Insidious, but he really made a splash last year by writing and directing the sleeper sci-fi hit, Upgrade. Since that film’s debut, Whannell has been asked to write and direct The Invisible Man (a film that may very well help determine the future of the Universal monster movies reboots) and has now taken on the daunting task of remaking a John Carpenter classic. 

Initial reports indicate that Whannell is very much aware of the pressures of remaking a film as beloved as Escape From New York. In fact, he has seemingly suggested that he intends to avoid some of the mistakes that plagued the remakes/reboots of Total Recall and Robocop. Specifically, it’s been noted that he wants to avoid approaching this film as a “tentpole” piece. That would seem to suggest that he isn’t interested in converting the original film into a watered-down blockbuster and perhaps even that he doesn’t intend to treat this as the start of a rebooted franchise. 

That all sounds interesting, but one big question that remains about this movie is “Who will direct it?” Robert Rodriguez had previously been attached to the remake, but there have been some conflicting reports regarding the extent of his involvement. Sources close to the project have mentioned that Whannell himself could be asked to direct, but it doesn’t sound like that offer has been made at this time. 

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For those who don’t know, the original Escape From New York was released in 1981 and follow a convict named Snake Plissken (expertly played by Kurt Russell) who was tasked with rescuing the President of the United States from a maximum security prison that used to be the island of Manhattan. The film is considered by many to be one of the great cult classics of the ’80s sci-fi/action scene. 

We’ll see whether or not this remake can live up to the reputation of the original whenever it happens to finally be released. 

Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014