Yes, John Leguizamo will always have to deal with Super Mario Bros. being in his past, but the actor recently landed a couple of lucrative film roles in Kick-Ass 2 and Ridley Scott's The Counselor that should help make up for that video game adaptation atrocity. Now the actor is also going to be making a splash on the small screen.
Deadline has word that ABC has greenlit a pilot for Kings of Van Nuys, a new comedy series starring Leguizamo as Del, one of two streetwise brothers constantly coming up with new schemes to get some quick cash, all as mere stepping stones to becoming millionaires. Dustin Ybarra (We Bought a Zoo) would play Leguizamo's brother Rodney.
The series will also mark the return of Back to the Future star Christopher Lloyd to a series regular role (which he previously had on Stacked and Taxi) as the brothers' grandfather who also gets involved in the shady plans. Bridesmaids star Wendi McLendon-Covey also will also star in the series, which is looking to tape on October 2nd. At this point, it's not clear if the potential series would try to end up on the mid-season schedule or if it's shooting for the fall 2013 season instead.
Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time this project has been attempted. Last season the series was picked up as an adaptation of the British series Only Fools and Horses, but it wasn't picked up to series. However, one of the executives at ABC, Paul Lee, loved the original series so much that he wanted to try again.
Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley did a rewrite of their own failed pilot and now the network is moving ahead with a new version that brings back longtime TV director Ted Wass (Spin City, 2 Broke Girls) and most of the entire team who worked on the original pilot. It's not everyday that a series gets a second chance like this, especially without any major changes to the talent in front of or behind the camera.
Leguizamo, despite never really getting a big leading role (The Pest notwithstanding) has proven to be a valuable commodity as a supporting actor in films like Moulin Rouge! and The Lincoln Lawyer. Additionally, his one-man stage shows like Freak and Sexaholix chronicling his life and family have received rave reviews and only further prove his fit for a leading role. He previously starred in The Brothers Garcia and has also guest-starred on shows like ER and My Name is Earl, so this would be a great return to the small screen for him.
It's not clear when Kings of Van Nuys will premiere, so stay tuned.