A persistent nostalgia for all things ’80s is an ongoing trend of American pop culture (despite so many of the ’80’s acolytes having been born toward the end of the decade or beyond). Recent movies like Hot Tub Time Machine and Take Me Home Tonight have kept the decade’s neon spirit alive, for better or worse. The past few years have have seen a successful remake of one ’80’s franchise (21 Jump Street), with a non-racecar redo of the classic surfing/sky-diving/bank robbing action movie Point Break on the way.
Movie studios continue to mine the decade for dormant properties ripe for re-invention, and one of the more interesting projects in the pipeline is Paramount’s upcoming reboot of The Naked Gun trilogy, which starred the late, great Leslie Nielsen in his iconic role as Detective Frank Drebin. Reno 911! alumni Thomas Lennon and R. Ben Garant are writing the script, with The Office and The Hangover star Ed Helms taking over the starring role.
The screenwriters know they are up against the wild-eyed slapstick of Airplane! writer-directors David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams – The Naked Gun series arguably represents the Zuckers and Abrahams at the peak of their powers. The reboot’s co-writer, R. Ben Garant, opened up to Crave Online about he and Thomas Lennon’s approach to the material:
“We are trying to reinvent the world because that world was very ‘Dragnet,’ but we’re trying to fit in 100 jokes a page. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re very much embracing the style.”
Garant said that even Ed Helms’ Frank Drebin will have a through-line to the original film. According to Garant:
“Our take is that Ed Helms is Frank Drebin, no relation. That’s how he introduces himself.”
This reference to a running gag of the original fits into the writers’ intention to have this story take place within the established universe of the first three films. Garant went on to say:
“Right now we’re calling it Episode IV – A New Hope. That will change, but that’s the working title.”
It seems like a given that the reboot will take the new Frank Drebin on his own unique adventure, but there’s always an off-chance the writers could include elements from the original film’s plot, which followed Drebin as he attempted to thwart a plot to assassinate the Queen of England.
When asked if this could be the case, Garant was understandably coy, stating:
“That’s too big of a spoiler, but it’s the world. It’s great. I’m a huge fan. Those movies are incredible. They’re so good.”
As for whether or not Ed Helms will sport hair similar to Leslie Nielsen’s instantly recognizable gray-going-on-white mane:
“Oh, I don’t know. He’s already kind of going gray. We’re making it pretty clear that he’s not Leslie Nielsen. Those are just too big of shoes to fill but we’re going to try to do as good as those. Those movies are so funny. They’re so solid.”
Garant and Lennon are also the screenwriting team behind the Night at the Museum series, which is getting a third entry (and maybe a fourth). Garant won’t confirm this either way, saying: “Spoiler alert, we can’t really say but they made ‘Jurassic Park 4,’ they made ‘Terminator 4.’ We’ll see what happens.”
Fans of the original series might remain skeptical about the prospects for this new Naked Gun – the humor of Reno 911! is a nice fit for the Zuckers’ brand of comedy, but the saccharine corniness of Night at the Museum would be less than ideal.
It does sound like Garant and Lennon have a solid respect for the original films, and setting this project up as a reboot set within the original continuity rather than a complete remake goes a long way toward reassuring fans that this could be worth a look.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to returning to the world of Naked Gun?
Stay tuned for news on The Naked Gun reboot, including further casting updates and word on potential directors.
Source: Crave Online