Movies - TV
The Failed Project That Pushed John Carpenter To Make Escape From New York
By CHRISTIAN GAINEY
After the successful release of "Halloween," John Carpenter and his producing partner, Debra Hill, were hot commodities in Hollywood. AVCO Embassy Pictures offered the pair a two-picture deal, the first of which would become "The Fog," followed by "The Philadelphia Story: Project Invisibility," with the latter eventually leading to "Escape From New York."
"The Fog" was to be followed by an adaptation of Charles Berlitz and William F. Moore's 1979 novel "The Philadelphia Story: Project Invisibility." After the successful release of "The Fog," Carpenter hit a very large snag with "The Philadelphia Story: Project Invisibility," with Carpenter admitting that he didn't know how to turn the story into an interesting screenplay.
Carpenter had written "Escape from New York" in the early '70s, focusing on the antihero, Snake Plissken, who was no doubt inspired by the fallout of the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam war, but Hollywood wasn't ready to project such a dark character and story onto the world. This led to Carpenter putting the script away and moving on to other projects.
According to Carpenter, when he told producer Bob Rehme he couldn't write "The Philadelphia Story" script, Rehme said, "You owe me a movie," and Carpenter replied with, "I have this script [...] called 'Escape from New York.'" Ultimately, the dark, violent, and weird world of "Escape from New York" became another Carpenter hit, and "The Philadelphia Experiment" flopped.