Paramount Pictures has tapped Baby Driver helmer Edgar Wright to direct a new adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Running Man. Originally published in 1982 under King's pseudonym Richard Bachman, The Running Man was famously adapted into a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1987. For Paramount's new movie, Wright and Michael Bacall will co-write the story that's said to be much more faithful to the original novel.
Reported by Deadline to be a "top priority for Paramount," The Running Man remake will be produced by Simon Kinberg and Audrey Chon under Genre Films alongside Nira Park from Wright's Complete Fiction banner. The outlet also reports that Edgar Wright was courted with the idea of developing The Running Man after previously naming the 1987 adaptation as the one movie he would remake if he could choose any.
Because the project is in the very early stages, no casting information has yet been revealed. Directed by Paul Michael Glaser, the original 1987 adaptation starred Arnold Schwarzenegger alongside Maria Conchita Alonso, Yaphet Kotto, Jim Brown, and Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Late Family Feud host Richard Dawson was also featured in a role as a sadistic game show host who narrates the action as Arnold's character fights his way through deadly gladiator battles for the sake of high TV ratings.
The Running Man is set in a dystopian future in the United States. While there are some differences between the book and the original movie adaptation, the original movie sees protagonist Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) competing in a broadcast game show where criminals flee from armed "stalkers" hired to kill them. Making it out alive means earning a state pardon. All the while, people watch the festivities as the world's economy has completely collapsed and watching professional killers butcher convicted criminals is what passes for entertainment in this alternate reality.
Along with the Oscar-winning movie Baby Driver, Wright is also known for his collaborations with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. He has worked with the comedic duo on the cult classic comedies Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End. Wright also wrote Ant-Man and has directed other movies like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and the upcoming psychological horror Last Night in Soho. His new documentary The Sparks Brothers premiered last month at the virtual Sundance Film Festival.
Already, news of Wright taking the wheel for a new adaptation of The Running Man is exciting fans of the filmmaker. As one person puts it on Twitter: "Really looking forward to seeing how @edgarwright deals with The Running Man. The news came out of nowhere, but is a remake (if you could call it that) I can't wait for."
Paramount hasn't set a release date for The Running Man and it's unclear when filming will begin. Because the project is considered to be a top priority, the movie will presumably go on the fast track with production likely to start sometime this year. Wright hasn't yet officially commented on the news. This story was first reported by Deadline.