Edgar Wright sets Glen Powell at Running Man starting block

Glen Powell cast to star in Edgar Wright's adaptation of Stephen King's The Running Man
CinemaCon 2024 - Universal Pictures and Focus Features Invite you to a Special Presentation
CinemaCon 2024 - Universal Pictures and Focus Features Invite you to a Special Presentation / Jerod Harris/GettyImages

Glen Powell has been having a great few years. He went from co-starring in Top Gun: Maverick to headlined the romantic comedy Anyone But You with Sydney Sweeney. This year will see the release of Twisters as well as Richard Linklater's Hit Man. Powell seems to be racking up a number of different kinds of projects with some of the best directors around. That trend will continue with the news that he will star in Edgar Wright's The Running Man.

Stephen King's book -- which he published under his Richard Bachman pen name in 1982 -- takes place in a devastated future in which totalitarian rule reigns supreme over an impoverished public that adores shows like The Running Man. A life-threatening game show, the program sends contestants out into the world with Hunters on their trail. Participants make money for every day they survive and every law enforcement agent of Hunter they kill. A man named Ben Richards gets on the show as a way to help pay for his sick daughter's medical bills.

Many will be familiar with the tonally very different 1987 adaptation from director Paul Michael Glaser starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Dawson, Jim Brown, Yaphet Koto and Maria Conchita Alonso. In that film, Schwarzenegger plays Ben Richards, a cop framed for killing a bunch of rioters. He wound up on The Running Man, the most popular TV show around in which prisoners face off against themed Stalkers like Sub-Zero, Dynamo, Buzzsaw, Fireball and Captain Freedom in a cordoned-off portion of LA. It's a big over-the-top romp and has very little in common with its source material aside from the basics of the world.

Edgar Wright
Los Angeles Premiere of A24's "Love Lies Bleeding" / Eric Charbonneau/GettyImages

Wright's been attached to the project since 2021 and worked on the story with Michael Bacall. The pair previously teamed-up on another adaptation, 2010's Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. The intent for the new film is to stick much closer to the feel and tone of the book. While it could have been fun to see what Wright would do with the likes of Dynamo and Captain Freedom, fans of King's book have been waiting for a more faithful, down-and-dirty version like the one presented in the Bachman Book.

Over the years, Wright has shown quite a talent for crafting passion projects that often feature a unique take on a particular genre. His early films like Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End all mixed humor with horror, cop and sci-fi set-ups. More recently he made the music-minded heist flick Baby Driver, the pop doc The Sparks Brothers and the time-twisted modern giallo The Last Night In Soho. Wright is also attached to direct the Jane Goodman-penned adaptation of Adrian McKinty's book The Chain, though there hasn't been much in the way of news on that one since the 2020 announcement.

The Running Man is set up at Paramount, though no further details have been revealed. It seems likely that we'll be seeing more cast announcements and maybe even a release date established now that Powell's involvement is known.

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