Kurt Russell’s Explanation For Turning Down Metal Gear Solid’s Snake Is Another Reason Why We Love The Escape From New York Actor

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Written By Maya Cantina

As one of the best action movies to have ever graced the big screen, Kurt Russell and John Carpenter’s Escape from New York remains an all-time classic. As a major influence on Hideo Kojima’s equally iconic PlayStation game Metal Gear Solid, the resemblance between that pixelated protagonist and his flesh and blood namesake has always been so uncanny. So much so that it’s been rumored Russell was offered the role of Solid Snake back in the day. 

Whether or not that’s totally true, the legendary actor’s reason for turning down projects such as that is another reason why we love Mr. Kurt Russell. During an interview for GQ’s YouTube video breaking down Kurt’s iconic roles, the rumor of his services being recruited for Metal Gear Solid were raised in conversation. Politely side stepping the subject, the man was a total champion when providing this initial reasoning for why he’d passed on this hypothetical opportunity: 

There have been many different times when people wanted to do something. I don’t know. I’m a movie guy. You’ve got to understand that, from my point of view, whether it’s Elvis or Snake Plissken or Jack Burton or R.J. MacReady, that was that project. That was that thing. You get into that mindset. You create that. You want to make that world happen.

That singular mindset has seen Kurt Russell build an impressive resume of projects, Escape from New York included. Just imagine how many of his John Carpenter collaborations wouldn’t have happened if he’d taken every gig looking for a “Snake Plissken type.” That excitement for the future and new opportunities also fed into another concern that arose from course of this chat.

While he’s certainly not afraid to tackle something that recalls previous roles, like a Monarch: Legacy of Monsters moment reminiscent of The Thing, it sounds like the major caveat that had Kurt Russell shying away from Metal Gear Solid was that it was just too similar. Not to mention, as he also included in further remarks on the matter, one key contributor would have been missing from the picture: 

I come from a different era. I wasn’t interested in expanding, financially, off of something that we had created, or that I had created in terms of the character. I get business people, sure. ‘Well, we could do this with that, we could do this with that, or we could do this with that.’ And I look at it and go, ‘That’s not written by John [Carpenter]. That doesn’t smell right.’ John’s not here to do this with. I’m not going to do that. Let’s go do something new. Let’s go do something fresh. Let’s go create another iconic character rather than saying, ‘What can we bleed off of this iconic character?’ You don’t look at them as iconic characters. You refer to them as that if they become iconic. You’re on a day to day, running and having a good time and trying to make it work.

To reprise Snake Plissken without John Carpenter at the wheel wouldn’t have interested Kurt Russell. As always, his loyalty to his frequent collaborator and that curiosity fueled work ethic is something The Thing’s mythic lead has always held near and dear to his heart. 

History still turned out pretty nicely when it came to Solid Snake and his adventures on the PS1, as eventually actor/X-Men screenwriter David Hayter would be cast as Metal Gear Solid’s lead. This in turn saw him playing Solid Snake across multiple games and variations on that character. 

If Hideo Kojima ever wanted to ask Kurt Russell to join in on one of his original projects, like the upcoming Death Stranding 2 or the Jordan Peele-produced OD, one would think the odds would be a lot better that he might accept.

Although it wouldn’t hurt to ask self-admitted gamer John Carpenter, as one could imagine the hype that the internet would engage in, were that to happen. Just imagine the playground of nightmares those two could come up with? In the meantime, you can currently catch Kurt Russell in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. The entire first season is now streaming for those who have an Apple TV+ subscription and a taste for Titan-packed adventure in the MonsterVerse. 

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