Edgar Wright, the British director who spearheaded Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and 2017’s Baby Driver as well as the comedic Cornetto trilogy, will direct an adaptation of Stephen King’s 1982 dystopian thriller The Running Man. Wright will reunite with Scott Pilgrim co-writer Michael Bacall for the film’s script.
The Running Man, initially published under King’s pseudonym Richard Bachman, is a thriller set in 2025 dystopian America where a man named Ben Richards plays The Running Man, a game in which vagabond contestants are stalked by hunters tasked to kill them. The novel spurred an eponymous 1987 film adaptation which loosely adhered to King’s story and starred former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. In that adaptation, the story takes place in late the 2010s, rather than in 2025, and Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) is a criminal who plays the game to earn a state pardon. In the original book, Richards is motivated to join and last 30 days in the game, an achievement that comes with $1 billion cash prize, to pay for his sick daughter’s medical fees.
Hopefully, Wright veers closer to the source material and spins some satirical tale about the pacification of American society through reality television, a major facet of modern television that was barely a realized concept when The Running Man and its first film adaptation were released. Wright has been itching to breathe new life into King’s story since 2017, according to Deadline. With Paramount’s backing, that dream can now be realized. Fingers crossed that Wright uses King’s prescient political musings to deliver an intriguing, resonant psycho-thriller fit for the 21st century.