Edgar Wright’s Developing A Remake Of Stephen King’s The Running Man, And The Original Screenwriter Has Thoughts

The 1987 film The Running Man is remembered as a cult classic, aligning itself with the big action films of the 1980s and helping to further Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the biggest movie stars in the world. The film was adapted from the Stephen King novel of the same name. However, for the on-screen adaptation, screenwriter Steven de Souza made a number of changes to make the film more cinematic than King’s writing in the book. Now filmmaker Edgar Wright wants to try his hand at adapting The Running Man, and de Souza has some thoughts on the matter.

De Souza reflected on the changes he made for the film that differed from the book. He found the game show within King’s book to be quite bland and difficult to translate on screen. Instead, de Souza wanted to emulate the game shows of the 1980s by including a charismatic host played by Richard Dawson and spotlighting different contestants. He also changed the way contestants were chosen for the game show by making it more high tech. In the book, contestants were chosen by a lady coming out of a box holding an envelope. de Souza wondered how this will be handled in the remake, saying: 

At one point I’d heard that the guy who did the Cornetto Trilogy, he is talking about doing a remake of this. I’ll be interested to see where he goes. But I would not be surprised if he’s going to have to make some of these same choices, unless it’s like Alphaville. Like a retro future, and then the girl can come out with the box and the envelopes, I suppose.

Clearly the adjustments de Souza made were important for storytelling and to capture audience sensibilities of the time. It's been over 30 years since the film was released, but Wright still may face some of the struggles De Souza had when adapting King’s original novel. The Baby Driver director will most likely be faced with making the novel more accessible to today’s audience, and thus will have to make adjustments for cultural relevance.

Edgar Wright is known for his very stylized projects and also has experience putting together high action, so I’m sure The Running Man will fit in well with his filmography. He is set to write the film along with Michael Bacall who previously worked with Wright on Scott Pilgram vs The World. The new take on The Running Man is also said to take place in 2025, so the script will definitely be updating the technology from the original film to better reflect a contemporary world.

The cast for the upcoming project also hasn't been announced, so it’s unclear if Arnold Schwarzenegger will return. His casting in the original film contributed to Steven de Souza’s version of the script, so Schwarzenegger's influence on Wright’s announced project is to be determined. De Souza has also admitted to disliking the use of early deep-fake technology in the 1987 film, so this is another area Wright can maybe improve upon in the conception of this remake.

The release date for Edgar Wright’s The Running Man is still unclear, but you can check out his latest critically acclaimed film Last Night in Soho with an HBO Max subscription. You can also revisit Steven de Souza’s 1987 vision for The Running Man, by streaming it on fuboTV. 

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