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Neal H. Moritz (pictured), producer of genre fare ranging from the youth-centric I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and URBAN LEGEND films to the epic I AM LEGEND, recently spoke about the development of three projects that are of some interest to horror fans: the ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK remake, PREACHER and MAN-WITCH.
Chatting with Collider, Moritz—who will also be busy in the upcoming months with FAST AND FURIOUS 5 and 6 and Bryan Singer’s JACK THE GIANT KILLER—had this to say: “The next kind of wave for me will be 21 JUMP STREET, hopefully THE BOYS, hopefully ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK. HIGHLANDER for sure—I’m doing that with Justin Lin after we finish FAST AND THE FURIOUS.”
Moritz has a script for ESCAPE. “We’re out to directors right now. We’ve had quite a few meetings with directors and there are a couple of actors that are really interested in playing Snake and we’ll see what happens. Obviously, there are a tremendous amount of fans of this franchise. How much do you judge what fans are wanting vs. what’s good for the movie? Well, you know I have fond memories of a lot of movies and then I go back and watch them and I’m not sure exactly what my biggest fond memories of those movies are. I have a huge affinity for the character of Snake Plissken and I have huge affinity for the central idea of ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and there are a lot of characters and a lot of things that I like. We wouldn’t be going off to try and remake it unless we really liked that movie. But we’re also inventing some new things along the way.”
For a while, 300’s Gerard Butler was in talks to recreate the role of Plissken. “Gerard was really interested in playing it. He hasn’t read the new script yet, so we’ll probably have a conversation with him once we get a director on board.”
As for the status of PREACHER, based on DC’s supernatural comic, Moritz notes, “We now have a terrific script that John August wrote. We were originally talking with Sam Mendes about doing the movie, [but] Sam is going to go off and do the Bond movie, so there’s another director that we’re talking to right now. I hopefully will be shooting that movie next year. The hardest thing with all the PREACHER books was how to distill it down. And [John] made a smart decision—instead of trying to cram everything into one, there’s plenty of room for two or three movies. So that’s what he’s done, and he’s done a really faithful adaptation but made it probably more accessible to a broader audience right now. That movie’s definitely R-rated and it’s an amazing central character.”
Finally, there’s the horror/comedy MAN-WITCH. “We have a script. We’re hiring another director on it right now. That’s a movie that’s come together and fallen apart many different times. I think we’re finally on the right track now. We have a very good director who’s interested in doing it. The hardest part of the movie is going to be who can play that role. When Todd Phillips was going to direct it, it was going to be Zach Galifianakis. It was going to be Jack Black at one point when Todd was [on] it, so it’s been through a couple of different combinations right now and I think either of them would be really good for the part.”
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