A new feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s dystopian thriller The Running Man is on its way with filmmaker Edgar Wright directing. The first adaptation of the novel arrived back in 1987, with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role of Ben Richards. Today, the film is considered an action staple by many, but its impact was hardly felt upon its release.
Though King’s 1982 novel of the same name is the film’s source material, it differs significantly from what the Schwarzenegger film offered. Whereas King’s work showcased a dystopian future in which contestants on a game show called The Running Man volunteer for the violent TV game show and are paid money for every hour they remain alive. The Schwarzenegger version’s contestants were legally regarded as criminals and brought on to the game show as both a punishment and entertainment for the public. In later years, King pointed out the dissimilarities between the Richards character he wrote and Schwarzenegger's, leaving many King fans open to a new adaption of the book.
Now, some thirty-four years after the first Running Man film release, a new adaptation is on its way. According to Deadline, this time around, the film will be directed by Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver filmmaker Edgar Wright. The script will be co-written by Wright and Michael Bacall, who previously worked with Wright on his 2010 adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. At present, there is no information regarding a potential release date.
However, what is known so far is that Wright intends to be more faithful to the source material, something that is sure to make King happy. The new adaptation will not be a remake, and Wright has been vocal about his desire to take a crack at The Running Man for years now. Fans of both Wright and The Running Man are sure to be excited over this latest news, as Wright’s filmmaking aesthetic has always been one of the most attractive elements of his work. What’s more, Wright is the sort of filmmaker whose love for cinema can be felt and seen in any one of his films, with a seemingly endless array of references and Easter eggs scattered throughout everything he does. He chooses his projects very carefully. In addition to The Running Man, fans are also counting down the days until his latest directorial effort, Last Night in Soho, arrives after several delays.
For those who are faithful to the Schwarzenegger adaptation of The Running Man, this upcoming new take on it might prove unwanted. Thankfully, Wright has cleverly avoided any of the backlashes that often come with attempting to reboot cult favorites by merely choosing not to reboot the original. But in 2021, the concept of contestants being hunted in a dystopian future is hardly an original one for a film. Wright will have his work cut out for him in attempting to create something different. Still, he’s spent his entire career to date bringing audiences unique twists to relatively familiar genres.
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