Screenwriter Neil Cross is best known to many for his contributions to the small screen, including creating the Idris Elba-starring drama “Luther,” penning a handful of “Doctor Who” episodes, and building out the brand-new series “Hard Sun” (an upcoming crime drama starring Agyness Deyn and Jim Sturgess), but he’s also got one heck of a film assignment filling his time, too. Cross, who also wrote the screenplay for Andy Muschietti’s “Mama” remake, is next on deck to pen the script for the long-simmering “Escape From New York” remake. It’s a gig he doesn’t seem to be taking lightly.
In a wide-ranging interview over at Deadline, Cross updates the status on his “challenging” script, offering up a very important seal of approval: that of original director and screenwriter John Carpenter.
“It was quite a challenging script, it’s a challenging thing to reinvent,” Cross told the outlet. “One of the most terrifying sentences I’ve ever heard in my life is ‘we’ve given the script to John Carpenter.’ I crawled around for three days thinking ‘oh my god.'”
He didn’t need to worry (too much), as he added, “We got John Carpenter’s seal of approval. He approved it and that’s all I need. You never quite know [if it’s done] but I might need to do some rewrites and do some nip and tuck but in the first approximation, my job is done.”
In March of this year, Rodriguez came on board to direct the remake, which Fox is reportedly hoping will spawn a brand-new franchise. It could be a timely one, too, as Carpenter and co-writer Nick Castle wrote their original script in the wake of the Watergate scandal, setting it in an imagined late-’90s dystopia.
The kind of political upheaval that spawned it — a wild story in which Manhattan has been turned into a maximum security prison that housing the worst of offenders, many of whom are quite pleased when the crooked U.S. president literally lands on their island after a failed attempt on Air Force One — is alive and well these days, and could be more than enough to inspire another wild story with some real-world roots.
Rodriguez and Carpenter have also collaborated before, as Rodriguez’s El Rey Network last year announced the launch of “The People’s Network Showcase,” which features short films from emerging filmmakers.
The remake does not yet have a planned release date.