The newly-announced remake of Escape from New York may already have its candidates for main character, Snake Plissken down to two. According to a report from The New York Daily News, either Tom Hardy or Jason Statham could stand to inherit the cycloptic, badass mantel of the role made famous in the 1981 original film by Kurt Russell.
Hardy, who had recent breakout turns in Inception, Warrior, and proved he could be somewhat funny in action-romcom, This Means War, would give a career-defining performance as Bane in last summer's The Dark Knight Rises, making him a household name. While a go as the new Snake Plissken would undoubtedly build upon an already-impressive resume, Hardy also happens to be gearing up for the release of his starring role in the reinvention of another 1980's post-apocalyptic franchise in next year's Mad Max: Fury Road. Thus, for him, he may be wary of potential remake overkill.
In Statham, we have an actor who, with a signature cockney accent, has carved out quite a niche as the headliner for a steady stream of action flicks over the years, notably with The Transporter series, The Expendables series, and in the upcoming Fast & Furious 6. He's certainly one of the more capable action protagonists, but his landing the role may depend on whether he can emulate the kind of grizzled, smart-alecky, "why the hell am I even here?" demeanor that could be neccessary for the new Snake to be, well, Snake.
At the moment, nothing is confirmed, as the NYDN report was based off unnamed sources. In fact, the names of Gerard Butler and Jeremy Renner were previously in the mix at one point in time, and for all we know, may still be in the running. It's a fact that led to comments from the duo who put together classics like the original Escape from New York, The Thing, and Big Trouble in Little China: John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. In an interview published today with Empire, the duo reunited for a reflection on the aforementioned great trilogy of 80's genre films and also made comments on the search for the new Snake that might prove germane to this report, given that two Brits were named as candidates for the role.
Check out what they had to say on the matter below!
On the subject of Snake, Kurt Russell, the original Snake himself does not hold back his feelings, especially about what nationality the character should represent:
“There are two guys who really do know Snake Plissken and the Escape world,” says Russell. “Number one, John. Number two, me. 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! I thought Gerard Butler was great in 300.
“The problem is not Snake, you can find a good Snake,” continues Russell, before unveiling his grand plan for the franchise. “You gotta get John Carpenter. Escape From New York is just weird because of the way he sees the world, man. He sees it slightly //off//. It’s his world, it’s a night world. This is his thing.”
When asked if he would ever step in to reprise the role, Russell responds with John Carpenter chiming in:
“Could I do it again?” asks Russell, shaking his head. “No.”. Carpenter interjects: “He could do Old Snake.” Russell sighs. “I never wanted to do Snake old.” “Why not?” asks Carpenter. “If you’re going to do him,” expands Russell, “do him young. He’s one of those guys.”
Carpenter nods. “They got people working on trying to put together Escape From New York, and they don’t know where they’re going with it.” Russell laughs, heartily. “It’s been done! Guess what, guys, it’s been done. And there’s nothing wrong with it. But what you need now is what John told them then: you need a good young guy who gets the character.”
It definitely seems that the key to this movie's hopes lie in getting a perfectly balanced actor to fill the role of Snake. That, as I've found myself saying before, will be far easier said than done. If not Hardy or Statham, then WHO?