The Running Man Remake Director Is Screaming For Stephen King Sci-Fi Thriller To Get Made

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Edgar Wright has proven himself to be the kind of powerhouse director who can bring just about any movie to life. Shaun of the Dead proved he could make sublime comedy horror, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World proved that not only can Wright create excellent action scenes but that he is unusually skilled at adapting literary source material for the big screen.

Now, the director’s action chops and keen eye for adaptation are about to come in handy: IndieWire reports that Wright will be directing a reboot of The Running Man that is more faithful to the Stephen King short story than the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger film.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Stars In 1987’s The Running Man

the running man

The original 1987 The Running Man movie is quite iconic: it portrays a dystopian future America (in the far-flung future of 2017, no less) in which the government tries to quell unrest by creating violent television shows for audiences to obsess over. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a policeman who refuses to execute dozens of helpless people, so is he forced to compete in the television show The Running Man. Accordingly, he must fight and defeat a series of increasingly outlandish stalkers, all while helping an underground resistance to take control back from their oppressors.

Remake Will Be A More Faithful Adaptation Of The Stephen King Novel

Stephen King worst movie

It’s not exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best action film, but The Running Man became a cultural milestone that helped inspire things like the violent arcade game Smash TV. Why, then, does Edgar Wright want to create a film very different than the previous one? The short answer is that he was a huge fan of the book while growing up, and from the very beginning, he was disappointed by the parts of the novel that were omitted by The Running Man director Paul Michael Glaser.

Edgar Wright Directing The Remake

He obsessed over what he thought the 1987 film was missing when he was a teenager, and decades later, Edgar Wright was an accomplished Hollywood director in his own right. He ended up having a conversation with prolific writer, producer, and director Simon Kinberg in which the Hollywood heavyweight asked Wright if he had any interest in directing a reboot of The Running Man. Enthusiastically, Wright responded, “I’ve often thought that that book is something crying out to be adapted.”

Not An Action Movie?

arnold schwarzenegger the running man 2

Wright didn’t elaborate on how his reboot of The Running Man would be different, but we imagine it has a lot to do with the original book being far less action-oriented than the movie. In the book, our protagonist is not forced into the competition but volunteers for a “lottery” because those who can survive one month while being hunted by expert killers will receive a billion dollars. He just wants to provide for his family, but he is in just as much danger from audiences as from his hunters because fans at home can earn small prizes by telling the television network where they think their prey is hiding.

Move Over Arnold Scharzenegger…

Arnold Schwarzenegger

In other words, The Running Man novel was more about a dystopian government using bloodlust and greed to keep citizens from rising up, and the movie…well, the movie was about Arnold Schwarzenegger having a series of wrestler-style fights to the death. It was certainly entertaining to watch, but we can’t wait to see what kind of spin the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director puts on his more faithful film adaptation. After all, can there be a better director for this modern-day bread and circuses film than the one who turned “bread makes you fat?!” into a meme for the ages?