Joel Silver may be building a “team” of co-leads around antihero Snake Plissken as shortlist reveals potential star
Is mega-producer Joel Silver planning to take his long-planned “Escape From New York” reboot even further in the same “team” direction as “The Avengers,” “X-Men” and the upcoming “Justice League” movie?
A new report from popular sci-fi site Starlog claims that the most recent draft of the script, which has “always had a team dynamic to it,” has elevated several former supporting characters to “co-leads,” perhaps in response to the current blockbuster marketplace.
The screenplay is now said to find iconic antihero Snake Plissken flanked by returning mates Cabbie, a schizophrenic travel guide who serves as comic relief, and Brain, Snake’s former partner-in-crime who left him to die after a botched robbery, as well as Mina, a war journalist who becomes a scavenger after being framed for murder and Gareth, the last surviving member of the President’s security detail who harbors a dangerous secret.
While Cabbie and Brain were significant supporting characters respectively played by Ernest Borgnine and Harry Dean Stanton in John Carpenter’s 1981 classic, the other two are new additions designed to form a team of heroes in the vein of Marvel’s “Avengers” that will of course be led by Snake.
And just who might have what it takes to fill Kurt Russell’s giant shoes and play Snake, the convicted bank robber tasked with saving the President after Air Force One crashes in Manhattan, which has become a maximum security prison in the future?
According to a source who “has gone above and beyond to verify their association to the project,” Silver has his eye on “Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam, “The Walking Dead” alum Jon Bernthal and “Downton Abbey” veteran Dan Stevens.
Starlog says that Hunnam is the “top contender” for the coveted role and that Silver Pictures has already begun “to commission pre-production artwork from independent artists featuring Hunnam as the one-eyed antihero, possibly to shop to a co-financier at AFM.”
Starlog wisely hedges its bets, however, noting that it’s unclear if Hunnam’s commitment to “Pacific Rim 2” will leave him unavailable, while adding that Guy Ritchie’s “King Arthur” movie could further complicate the casting situation.
While Hunnam is certainly a movie star in a way that neither Bernthal nor Stevens are (yet), both of those actors may be a better fit for the job.
Stevens establishes himself as a budding movie star in Adam Wingard’s upcoming thriller “The Guest,” in which he plays an ex-soldier… just like Snake Plissken! Like Hunnam, he’s a talented actor who’s a bit of a pretty boy, but as evidenced by “The Guest,” he’s also got an edge that allows him to get nasty real quick.
Meanwhile, Bernthal plays a soldier in David Ayer‘s WWII movie “Fury,” which opens in October. Coming off roles as Leonardo DiCaprio‘s muscle in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Robert De Niro‘s son in “Grudge Match” and Marine-turned-Detective in “Mob City,” it’s no surprise that he strikes this reporter as a tough guy who can deliver the kind of one-line zingers favored by Plissken.
Regardless of whether Silver chooses one of these three fine young actors or someone else entirely, it seems like he’s got good taste in up-and-coming leading men. While Starlog reports that an offer is expected to go out soon, Silver Pictures is apparently close to hiring a director for the “Escape From New York” reboot and that filmmaker will likely want to weigh in on the big casting decision, so stay tuned.