The Running Man | Glen Powell to star in Edgar Wright’s new Stephen King adaptation

Glen Powell
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Glen Powell has been hired by Edgar Wright, to go where Arnold Schwarzenegger went before in a new take on The Running Man.

If you’ve been following the progress of Edgar Wright’s mooted adaptation of The Running Man, a healthy does of patience has been required but after three years of waiting, we finally have our first real bit of news regarding the project.

First announced back in 2021, development on The Running Man has likely been affected by the global pandemic and Hollywood strikes which have disrupted production and caused many a project to fall by the wayside.

Despite calling it a ‘dream project’, the Shaun Of The Dead director didn’t really offer much in the way of updates until late last year when he confirmed that The Running Man was still alive and in ‘active development.’

Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, we have our first major piece of casting for the project and it’s been worth the wait: Glen Powell will lead the film as Ben Richards, the titular running man who enters a nightmarish game show in a futuristic dystopian in order to save his family.

As we saw with the impressive commercial success that Powell and co-star Sydney Sweeney enjoyed with Anyone But You, the actor has proved his ability to ‘open’ a movie. The romcom hoovered up an incredible $220m at the global box office – not bad for a genre which is dismissed as being no longer viable for theatrical releases.

To complement that success, Powell will also lead the ensemble in this summer’s Twisters, not to mention being given plum roles by directors with artistic credentials, such as Richard Linklater’s Hit Man which releases on Netflix later this year.

In short, this feels like smart casting and we’re very keen to see how Wright plans to use Powell’s talents in his adaptation of the Stephen King novel (which was penned under the pseudonym Richard Bachman). Here’s a synopsis for the story:

‘King’s Running Man, published in 1982 and written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, was set in 2025 in an America under a totalitarian regime that uses violent game shows to placate the disenfranchised masses. One desperate man, needing money for his sick daughter, joins the most popular show, The Running Man, in which teams of killers hunt down contestants. The longer one survives, the more money that person makes. But as the game show’s producers and killers will find out, this desperate man will break all the rules and expose the show’s dark secrets.’

The role of Ben Richards was of course first played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1987 film of the same name. Being an Arnie movie though, that version played pretty fast and loose with the source material, drastically altering its tone to retool the story into an action vehicle to promote Schwarzenegger, who shoots goons and making wisecracks.

While it was lots of fun, the tone of King’s original novella is somewhat darker and we suspect that is the direction Wright will be heading in. He now has a talented leading man to take that journey with him. We’ll bring you more on The Running Man as we hear it.

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