Some classic stories seem to beg almost annual reinterpretation from Hollywood: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Jack Finney’s The Body Snatchers are all examples of literary stories that resound deeply within the human psyche and have multitudes of big screen versions. Is it any wonder then that when a new generation of filmmakers stumble along that those same stories gets picked up and reimagined with whatever is considered relevant and weighty for that era? An unlikely candidate for the above that began life as a Stephen King novel is, according to our Nike-wearing cousins at Variety, now due for new adaptation, its second such one since 1987.
The Running Man first saw the light of day in a 1982, published under author Stephen King’s penname Richard Bachman. The futuristic story (maybe even – dare I say it – “Dystopian”) revolved around a down on his luck bloke by the name of Ben Richards who must participate in a live televised game show in order to provide for his struggling family. The story proved popular enough to see a big screen adaptation in 1987 from director Paul Michael Glaser which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.
This new version of The Running Man just announced late last week will be helmed by master director Edgar Wright of Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver fame for Paramount Pictures. Wright will be working from a script that he co-wrote alongside screenwriter and actor Michael Bacall (22 Jump Street). A little birdie told us that this rendition of The Running Man will be a tad more faithful to King’s original story than the ’87 version was. Audrey Chon and Simon Kinberg of Genre Films are listed as producers on the project with Nira Park of Edgar Wright’s production house Complete Fiction.
King more than most writers alive or pushing up daisies has had his work adapted and readapted for the movie and television screens of the world: IT, The Shining, ‘Salem’s Lot (which actually desperately needs a well-done adaptation, preferably by someone such as Frank Darabont or Rob Reiner), Carrie, The Dead Zone, Pet Sematary and The Stand are but a few of the author’s blockbuster novels that Hollywood just can’t seem to shake.
Stay tuned for further developments on Paramount’s remake of The Running Man.