The Running Man Is Getting a Reboot in the Dystopian Age It Predicted

Back on the run.

Tri-Star Pictures

Stephen King is an iconic horror writer, but one of his most impressive works wasn’t even written under his name. In 1982, King published The Running Man under the name Richard Bachman. King, an incredibly prolific writer, used the pseudonym to circumvent his usual rule of one book a year.

But The Running Man is more than just a novel he relegated to the overflow pile — it’s one of the most oddly prescient novels ever, and after a cult classic 1987 film adaptation, a new cinematic take on the story will finally be able to comment on this.

All the way back in 2021, Deadline reported that Paramount Pictures had struck a deal with Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright to create a new adaptation of the novel. But after that, there were no updates.

Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in the 1987 Running Man.

Tri-Star Pictures

Thankfully, at CinemaCon this year, we finally got some news that the project was still alive, and with a star attached. Top Gun: Maverick and Anyone But You star Glen Powell will star in the feature, presumably as protagonist Ben Richards, whom Arnold Schwarzenegger played in the 1987 movie.

The Running Man takes place in a dystopian future (2019 in the movie, 2025 in the books) where convicted criminals compete as “runners” in a twisted reality show, while mercenary “stalkers” try to hunt them down for sport.

When the novel and first movie were written, these were all lofty and grim ideas of what a future could be, but 2024 audiences are all-too-familiar with that premise now. Since the ’80s, we’ve had reality shows showing police chases, life-or-death situations, and even bounty hunters chasing down wanted criminals. Even fictional reality shows are becoming more and more common, as the legacy of The Hunger Games shows.

Glen Powell attended CinemaCon to promote Twisters, but his role in The Running Man was also revealed.


According to original screenwriter Steven de Souza, the original movie even contributed to the rise of reality TV. “One of the producers of American Gladiators confessed to me that he sold that concept to the network by simply copying scenes from The Running Man off a VHS and playing it in the pitch meeting,” he told the New York Post in 2019, “saying, ‘We’re doing exactly this — except the murdering part.’”

That’s what makes Edgar Wright the perfect choice for a project like this. A 21st-century reboot would have to find a way to point out the fact reality TV has become a staple of the entertainment industry while still finding a way to make the televised deadly chase still exciting.

While Wright is an experienced writer-director, The Running Man script will be written by Michael Bacall, who previously co-wrote Scott Pilgrim vs. the World with Wright. Bacall is known for his comedy chops, so don’t expect this to be a straight-up action thriller. Like any good reality show, it’s got to be a little ridiculous to stick out.

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