Michael York Was Ready To Pass On Logan’s Run Until He Got A Little Push

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To anyone in their 20s, Michael Anderson’s 1976 sci-fi film “Logan’s Run” remains a pop culture fulcrum of anxiety. Based on the 1967 novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson, “Logan’s Run” is set in the distant future of 2274 where the human population has been gathered in high-tech, dome-enclosed living facilities where their every wish is granted by an elaborate computer system. Everyone is young and attractive, and sex partners of any gender identity can be dialed up on a local roulette system. 

All citizens are equipped with a crystal in the palm of their hands. When they turn 30, the crystal begins glowing red, and the citizen in question must undergo a bleak ritual called Carousel. No one survives Carousel. If someone attempts to flee when their time is up — if they become a Runner — they are hunted down by local police called Sandmen. The title character, Logan 5 (Michael York), is a Sandman whose life clock is prematurely activated, forcing him to become a Runner himself. Jenny Agutter plays Jessica 6, the woman he flees with. 

“Logan’s Run” was clearly written by authors who understood the phenomenon of the quarter-life crisis, as well as the impending “outgrowing” that will occur in a consumer culture devoted to youth a youth market. Despite the feathered hair and hedonistic 1970s attitudes, “Logan’s Run” will always remain relevant. 

By 1976, York was already a massive star thanks to his turns in Franco Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet” (he played Tybalt), Bob Fosse‘s “Cabaret,” Sidney Lumet’s “Murder on the Orient Express,” and Richard Lester’s two “The Three Musketeers” movies. As York revealed in a 2021 retrospective for the Hollywood Reporter, he initially had no interest in the sci-fi project. A mystery actor had to coerce York to participate.

Working With Michael Anderson Again … But Not On This

Michael York was, perhaps ironically, already 33 when he was offered the role of Logan 5. According to a 1974 issue of the New York Times, the actor set to star in Christopher Fry’s play “Ring Around the Moon” (itself adapted from a French play called “Invitation to the Castle” by Jean Anouilh) at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles when the script for “Logan’s Run” was mailed to him. Michael Anderson was already attached to direct, and York was eager to work with him again. The two had just recently collaborated on the 1975 film “Conduct Unbecoming,” and had evidently developed a good rapport (the two would also eventually work together on the 1986 TV movie “Sword of Gideon”). York, however, had no interest in the script (by David Zelag Goodman) and immediately passed. 

It wasn’t until, of all people, his driver recommended the script to him that he reconsidered. As he tells the story: 

“I was so stupid […] But, fortunately, there was a younger actor in the company who had been delegated to drive me from Beverly Hills to the Ahmanson, and we became friends. He asked if he could read the script and I said, ‘Of course.’ The next morning, he turned up — actually wagging a finger at me — and said ‘You’ve got to do this! You don’t understand. It’s pressing all my buttons!’ So I owe that actor a good deal. I went to MGM and suddenly, I was doing it.”

That actor’s name was not revealed.

Logan’s Legacy

Michael York acted in the film, and it was a sizeable hit, earning $25 million at the box office (about $134 million, adjusted for inflation). The film was nominated for two competitive Academy Awards and won a Special Achievement Award. “Logan’s Run” was a big enough hit to become entrenched in the pop consciousness, and led to a one-season-wonder TV series in 1977 starring Gregory Harrison as Logan 5. D.C. Fontana, one of the head writers on “Star Trek,” worked on the series. There were two sequels written to the original novel — “Logan’s World” and “Logan’s Search” — but no serious plans were made to adapt those into movies. ‘

For many years, a long series of filmmakers had been attached to a high-profile remake of “Logan’s Run,” but that project has remained in Development Hell for decades. According to a 2021 report in Gizmodo, the project has been passed around many, many people. Ryan Gosling and Rose Byrne were once attached, as were screenwriters Skip Woods and Christopher McQuarrie, and directors Alex Garland, Bryan Singer, Joseph Kosinski, and Nicolas Winding Refn. In 2007 /Film reported that the remake was firing up. In 2011, it seemed things were continuing apace. In 2015, /Film again reported that the remake was still a go, and then updated the news in 2018. As of this writing, however, there have been no reports in years. One might say the “Logan’s Run” remake is more or less dead.

The struggle to remake the movie, however, has only been raging for about 22 or 23 years. Perhaps it shouldn’t be declared officially dead until it turns 30. Call us in 2036 or 2037 to confirm. 

Read this next: Sci-Fi Movies That Accurately Predicted The Future

The post Michael York Was Ready To Pass On Logan’s Run Until He Got A Little Push appeared first on /Film.

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