CHiPS Actor Erik Estrada Criticizes CHIPS Movie Reboot

CHIPs (2017) poster cropped

It has become fashionable in recent years for Hollywood to produce movie remakes of popular television shows from the 1980s and ‘90s, paying tribute to the source material while also treating it with ironic distance and some amount of knowing detachment, along with an R rating. The 21 Jump Street movies, from Phil Lord and Chris Miller, are the prototype of this subgenre, with the Dwayne Johnson-fronted Baywatch also taking part in the formula.

Another such movie is CHIPs, the film remake of the 1970s TV buddy-cop series of the same name about a pair of California Highway Patrol officers. The new film, directed by Dax Shepard and starring Shepard and Michael Peña, is set for release this March. Both the 21 Jump Street and Baywatch movies have found room for cameos by the original cast members, but don’t expect to see original star Erik Estrada in the film.

Estrada, who played Ponch in the television series, retweeted comments from fans with negative opinions of the first trailer, which debuted last week. One of the tweets described the movie as “demeaning 2 CHiPs' fans,” while the other used the phrase “PURE TRASH,” also stating the questionable assertion that the characters on the TV show never drew their guns. Aside from the retweets, Estrada does not appear to have commented directly about the film, although his TV costar, Larry D. Wilcox, did denounce the reboot last week:

@robbyynnnnnn @ErikEstrada @LarryDWilcox saw the trailer the other day...PURE TRASH...remember(not 100%sure) real CHiPs NEVER drew their gun

— AZnewborn72 (@BREWCITY72) January 16, 2017

Way to go Warner Bros - just ruined the Brand of CHIPS and of the Calif Highway Patrol. Great choice!

— larry wilcox (@LarryDWilcox) January 12, 2017

Estrada and Wilcox are not listed as part of the cast of the new movie, which also stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Adam Brody, Rosa Salazar, and Kristen Bell.

One may find it easy to sympathize with Estrada and Wilcox, much as it’s understandable that George Takei, after playing Mr. Sulu for decades in Star Trek projects, had objections to decisions made about Mr. Sulu in Star Trek: Beyond. Estrada and Wilcox have been Ponch and Baker for the entire histories of the characters, and the new film version offers a much different tone as well as significant plot and character departures for both Ponch and Baker.

Then again, the TV series has been gone for a long, long time — it went off the air in 1983, which is 34 years ago — making it likely that the intended audience for he upcoming film will likely consist of many who have never heard of the TV show, much less consider their fandom to have been affronted.  At any rate, it will be interesting to see if the filmmakers plan to address the actors' criticisms or if they will just let the new movie speak for itself.

Source: The Wrap

Key Release Dates
  • CHIPS (2017) release date: Mar 24, 2017
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