Update: David S. Ward has revealed that there's a new version of the script which does include Corbin Bernsen's character. Read below for details.
It's been over a year since we first heard rumblings that Major League 4 could actually be moving forward. In June, David S. Ward (who directed the first and second Major League movies) confirmed that the project was definitely in development and that he was hoping to reunite the original cast for a story that would see them passing the torch to a younger group of players.
At the time, Ward had only spoken with Charlie Sheen - whose shooting schedule for Two-and-a-Half Men meant that the earliest they could start production on Major League 4 was later this year. Nevertheless, Sheen was said to be excited about reprising his role as Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn.
Sheen recently called in to TMZ Live and revealed that he's ready to officially jump on board the film, but that it's up to the production company to pull the trigger. Evidently, there's been a dispute over Sheen's salary and he indicates that if they're serious about him signing on for Major League 4, they'll have to cough up the dough:
“Well you know I’d like to, but you might want to flood Morgan Creek with letters and an angry mob with burning torches because they don’t seem to think I’m as valuable as I do ... Everyone’s on board but me, so it’s on them.”
Sheen's involvement may currently be up in the air, but there's another original cast member who definitely won't be appearing in Major League 4. In another report from TMZ, they claim that Corbin Bernsen contacted the studio when he heard about the film and was told that his Roger Dorn character won't be featured in the latest installment. His publicist states that they're hopeful this might change:
"Corbin would LOVE to do another 'Major League' but it doesn’t look like he’s been written into the movie at this point. We’re hopeful he gets written in by the time it’s finalized though."
Bernsen was one of the few original cast members to make an appearance in the third film, Major League: Back to the Minors - which would make Major League 4 the first in the series not to include him. I know he still has Psych to keep him busy, but that's still a somewhat surprising snub - especially when the intention was supposedly to reunite as many of the original players as possible.
As for Sheen, I can't see a new Major League movie going forward without him. He may not be the only recognizable face from the franchise, but he's certainly the most well-known at this point. So the question is - will Sheen get the money he's asking for or could this setback potentially send Major League 4 into development hell?
Sheen is currently earning somewhere around $2 million per episode of Two-and-a-Half Men, so I can only imagine what he's demanding for this film. But even if you're talking about banking on an audience's nostalgia, how strong is the Major League brand? We're talking about a film that was a big hit back in 1989 and two abysmal sequels that strongly suggested this was territory not worth revisiting.
I realize Major League is remembered quite fondly, but this doesn't seem like a franchise that still has the same pop-culture significance as something like Indiana Jones or Ghostbusters (a series which is currently in a similar situation). So how much money do you think the studio's willing to put up for Major League 4 in the first place? If Sheen doesn't budge, could that deflate their interest in the project?
UPDATE: Writer/Director David S. Ward spoke with THR and revealed that while Corbin Bernsen's Roger Dorn character didn't make an appearance in the original script, he has since written him into the film.