EXCLUSIVE: Robert Rodriguez is getting the gig to direct Escape From New York, the remake of John Carpenter’s iconic 1981 film that’s set up at 20th Century Fox. The studio won a bidding battle for rights to the reboot in early 2015, with Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman’s The Picture Company set to produce. Neil Cross (Luther) is penning the script.

The original was released by Avco Embassy, and the rights were owned by Studiocanal. Carpenter will be an executive producer and have a big say in the tone of the project. Fox’s Mike Ireland, who brought in the movie, will oversee for the studio. The hope is to reinvent the property with an eye toward launching a Planet Of The Apes-like franchise.

The deal cements the relationship with Rodriguez and Fox; the director just helmed the studio’s Alita: Battle Angel, the film based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga graphic novels that was written by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis. Set in a 26th century dystopian future, the film follows the story of an amnesiac cyborg who, after being rescued from a scrap heap by a doctor, becomes a bounty hunter tracking down criminals. Rosa Salazar and Christoph Waltz star in the pic which has a July 20, 2018 release date mapped out.

The cynical original Escape From New York, hatched by Carpenter after the Watergate scandal, was set in a futuristic Gotham circa 1997. Kurt Russell of course played Snake Plissken, an eyepatch-sporting tough guy who is conscripted to rescue the President of the United States after Air Force One — en route to a summit that could head off World War III — goes missing after it crashes in New York, which has been relegated to a maximum security prison. Plissken, a former special forces operative convicted of trying to rob the Federal Reserve, is given 22 hours to liberate the president and a tape he carries which holds the key to peace. If he fails, he’s wired to explode.

Rodriguez and Carpenter have collaborated before. Rodriguez’s El Rey Network last fall announced the launch of The People’s Network Showcase, a series of specials featuring short films from emerging indie filmmakers. Carpenter hosted the premiere episode, The People’s Network Showcase: Horror Edition.