Vin Diesel re-invigorated both his flailing career and the Fast and the Furious series when he returned for the fourth installment, Fast & Furious (passing over his Tokyo Drift cameo, that is). We'll have to wait and see if he replicates that success with the belated followup to the cult science-fiction titles Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick, simply titled Riddick.
We have two Diesel-related stories to cover today, beginning with the confirmation that Riddick has (finally) secured a theatrical release date. In addition, its leading man is lined up for a new project (one which involves neither fugitive racers nor intergalactic bounty hunters, no less): a movie based on the popular 1970s crime procedural Kojak.
In certain circles, there's far more interest in Vin Diesel's return to the Pitch Black universe with Riddick than next year's Fast and the Furious 6. The threequel - from franchise architect David Twohy - has overcome such obstacles as Chronicle of Riddick's so-so box office performance ($115 million gross on a $105 million budget) and even a collapse in funding, in order to happen. Similarly, Diesel has proven to be apt at social media marketing, with respect to him keeping fans up-to-date with deets and production photos through his Facebook page.
Case in point: Diesel broke the Riddick release date story with this FB status post (marked for September 6th, 2013):
The release date of next year's RIDDICK.
IMAX... very cool, great job DT.
The Riddick synopsis alludes to an installment that embraces visceral-thriller elements of Pitch Black, while all-but abandoning the sci-fi universe and mythology construction in Chronicles of Riddick; Riddick securing an R Rating, lends more credence to that assumption. Such a film might not be an ideal candidate for post-conversion to IMAX, depending on how it was shot (see: The Hunger Games); then again, the results would probably still be better than if a post-3D format was slapped on instead. Moving on...
Deadline is reporting that Universal has Diesel onboard to headline a Kojak movie adaptation, with a script being written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. The duo announced recently their retirement from the James Bond franchise, following the release (and success) of Skyfall, which they co-penned with John Logan.
Kojak was created by Oscar-winner Abby Mann (Judgement at Nuremberg) and ran for five seasons from 1973-78. Telly Savalas received four Golden Globe nods (and two wins) for his portrayal of the titular character: a righteous NYC cop who had a thing for Tootsie Roll Pops, catchphrases ("Who loves ya, baby?") and never backing down from the challenges of an investigation. In other words, he was a trendsetter for what is now considered the archetypal TV show police officer-with-attitude.
One could argue that Diesel does indeed possess the screen presence to pull off all aspects of the Kojak character, in keeping with Savalas' performance. However, Deadline indicates that the chrome-dome cop is getting a makeover, as Purvis and Wade are going to "re-imagine and contemporize [the show] for the big screen." Could that mean Diesel as the new Savalas will be a sterner figure who lacks the aforementioned personality quirks (similar to Daniel Craig's James Bond) - and, if so, would that be a good or bad thing?
Let us know what you think in the comments.
Riddick opens in regular and IMAX theaters on September 6th, 2013.