"It’s sort of untouchable to us," says director Tyler Gillett of John Carpenter's original 1981 science fiction-thriller.

When EW recently spoke to the Radio Silence filmmaking collective of Tyler Gillett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, and Chad Villella about their upcoming Scream VI, the latest entry in the Scream horror franchise, we couldn't resist asking the trio about their involvement in another famous genre property: Escape From New York.

In November, Deadline reported that the trio would helm a reboot of John Carpenter's 1981 science fiction thriller for 20th Century Studios, with Carpenter acting as executive producer on the project. The original film is set in a near future when Manhattan has been turned into a maximum security prison. Escape From New York starred Kurt Russell as soldier-turned-criminal Snake Plissken, who is tasked with rescuing Donald Pleasence's U.S. President after Air Force One is hijacked and the commander-in-chief's escape pod crashes inside the penitentiary. The film's stacked cast also included Lee Van Cleef, Adrienne Barbeau, Harry Dean Stanton, Ernest Borgnine, Isaac Hayes, Tom Atkins, and Frank Doubleday. A hit upon its release, Escape From New York has, over time, achieved the status of a bona fide classic thanks in large part to Russell's iconic portrayal of his taciturn, tattooed anti-hero.

Carpenter subsequently directed a Russell-starring sequel, 1996's less-loved, if still fun, Escape From L.A. Following the box office failure of that movie, a planned third film, titled Escape From Earth, was never produced. "Escape from Earth was kind of Snake Plissken in a space capsule, flying interstellar," Carpenter told Fandom earlier this year. "So there'd be a lot of special effects in it. Which I never care about too much. But that's what it would look like."

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, Kurt Russell, 1981
Snake Plissken in 'Escape from New York'
| Credit: Everett Collection

There have been several previous attempts to reboot the franchise. In 2015, EW confirmed that Luther creator Neil Cross had been hired to write a new series entry. Two years later, Desperado director Robert Rodriguez was in negotiations to work on a reboot. By 2020, it looked like The Invisible Man writer-director Leigh Whannell was prepping to take over the franchise.

Asked about the status of Radio Silence's reboot, Villella described the project as still being in the "very, very early stages."

"We're very excited to be working with 20th Century on that," he continued. "We're developing our take, and hopefully, it will be going to script sometime in the New Year, and just really starting to lay the groundwork for that. But very early stages."

So is the plan for the new movie to be a sequel or a remake?

"Not a remake," said Gillett. "That's one of those properties that you can't [remake], it's sort of untouchable to us, and lives in its own stratosphere in terms of how important it is to us, and how much we love it. So it'll be not unlike Scream, I think, a nod to, and a continuation of, what we love about those characters and that world." 

Watch a trailer for Carpenter's original Escape From New York below.

Want more movie news? Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free newsletter to get the latest trailers, celebrity interviews, film reviews, and more.

Related content: