Everything we know about Edgar Wright’s The Running Man remake

Hollywood enlists its hottest star to remake a Stephen King classic

Edgar Wright's The Running Man remake. (Getty/Alamy)
Edgar Wright's The Running Man remake. (Getty/Alamy)

Shaun of the Dead filmmaker Edgar Wright is delving into the dark world of Stephen King to remake one of his classic early stories, The Running Man, for Paramount Pictures.

Released in 1982, The Running Man was King’s 11th published story, released under his literary pseudonym Richard Bachman. Like many of King’s tales, it was both prothetic and sinister, set in a dystopian near-future where humanity gets its kicks from watching a reality TV show where humans are hunted for sport, with those who survive bagging big cash prizes.

Arnold Schwarzenegger transformed the story into an action vehicle with filmmaker Paul Michael Glaser in 1987 and now Wright is gearing up to do the same with the help of one of Hollywood’s hottest stars. Here’s what we know so far about The Running Man remake.

Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in 1987's The Running Man. (Alamy)

Wright’s new take on The Running Man is currently without a confirmed release date but with the film sprinting into production, that could all change soon.

With casting news ramping up, production could soon see a catalytic boost - which is good news for Wright who has been developing this remake since 2021 alongside his producing partner Nira Park and fellow producer Simon Kinberg.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 10: Edgar Wright attends Netflix's
Edgar Wright has been developing a remake of The Running Man since 2021. (Getty)

The Running Man takes us to a dark future where society is on its knees and controlled by an oppressive regime. Society’s one escape is watching ultra-violent government-produced TV shows that reward contestants for competing in life-threatening games.

It’s here where we meet our hero, Ben Richards, a down-on-his-luck family man who is forced to enter The Running Man - a reality gameshow where players must avoid hitmen to win cash prizes. The longer they survive, the more money players make. However, as the game intensifies, Richards goes above and beyond to show both viewers and the show’s creators just how far he’s willing to go to survive.

Schwarzenegger first played Richards in Glaser’s 1987 feature which reimagined the character as a tough helicopter pilot who is forced to enter The Running Man after disobeying military orders. This was the first of many diversions Glaser made from King’s original text, transforming his story into something that better resembled one of Schwarzenegger’s '80’s action romps.

US author Stephen King holds his new book in Munich, Germany, 19 November 2013. King unveiled his new book
Stephen King published The Running Man in 1982 under the pseudonym Richard Backman. (Getty Images)

According to reports, Wright aims to take the story back to its roots, with the filmmaker claiming that it’ll better resemble a stand-alone film than a remake of Glaser’s original.

“I like the film but I like the book more, and they didn’t really adapt the book. Even as a teenager when I saw the Schwarzenegger film I was like, ‘Oh, this isn’t like the book at all!’” Wright told the Happy Sad Confused podcast in late 2023.

“And I think, ‘Nobody’s done that book.’ So when that came up, I was thinking, and Simon Kinberg says, ‘Do you have any interest in ‘The Running Man?’ I said, ‘You know what? I’ve often thought that that book is something crying out to be adapted.’ Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy! But it’s something that we are working on.”

Wright has written the script with Michael Bacall, the screenwriter who he previously collaborated with for his 2010 comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Bacall has also written the comedy remake 21 Jump Street and the found footage party pic Project X.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 09: Glen Powell poses at the
Glen Powell will star in Edgar Wright's The Running Man remake. (WireImage)

Glen Powell will lead Wright’s remake of The Running Man, starring in the leading role - presumably as Ben Richards, the unfortunate man forced to enter The Running Man — although official character details have yet to be confirmed. This casting news was made public at CinemaCon in April 2024 and as of writing, Powell is the only star confirmed to feature in Wright’s movie.

That said, as far as casting goes, it’s a pretty solid start. Powell is currently enjoying his newfound status as one of Hollywood’s brightest new stars following turns in high flying sequel Top Gun: Maverick, Sydney Sweeney's rom-com Anyone But You and Richard Linklater’s dramedy Hit Man. His latest feature, Twisters, has garnered glowing reviews too.

As The Running Man legs it towards a shoot date, we’re sure additional casting news will arrive soon enough.

Edgar Wright’s The Running Man remake is coming soon.