It’s a peculiarity of moviemaking that a direct remake of Escape From New York sounds like an idiotic idea, but a movie that’s quite a bit like EFNY has an appealing tint. THR says Ray Stevenson has been cast in Tribes of October, where he’d play “a New York detective caught up in a battle between the surviving members of the Mafia and the last remnants of the NYPD in a city that has become a desert outpost, ravaged by heat storms.” Which sounds like something I’d see in a second, preferably at the drive-in paired with a Neil Marshall movie. This is serious high-concept genre stuff, too. Evidently the city is now surrounded by an expansive desert, and no tech made after 1960 works.

Stevenson is a detective facing down a mafia leader (James Caan) who is trying to destroy what’s left of the NYPD, which is led by Robert Duvall. What an unlikely Godfather reunion. Caan and Duvall were said to be in talks a while back, and they’re now confirmed along with Jaime King and Stephen Moyer. Producing and directing is Philippe Martinez from a script by Nick Vallelonga and Paul Sloan.

The film is small, budgeted at $25m, but even with the very latter-day King Solomon’s Mines look of the teaser image (above, sourced from the Cinepro Pictures web site) I’m willing to hold off predicing crap. Then again, there’s the producing resume of Martinez, and the fact that the film will be shot greenscreen, so place your bets. Some CGI will debut at Cannes this year, with full production set to start later this summer. (Providing, one assumes, the Cannes footage generates some foreign sales money.)