Now that the big five TV networks have laid down their respective pilot orders for the 2015-16 season (which will include movies-turned TV shows like Minority Report), it’s time for them to start locking down talent for them both in front of and behind the camera.
One of the most high profile new series of the season, Limitless, has done just that, hiring Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb to call the shots on its pilot. And now, another high-profile new TV show (... also based on a film), Rush Hour, has found its pilot's helmsman.
Deadline is reporting that CBS has hired National Treasure’s Jon Turteltaub to take the reins on the Rush Hour pilot, drawing from a script written by Scrubs and Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence. This will mark Turteltaub’s third pilot with CBS, as he also served as director on the premieres of Harper’s Island and, more famously, Jericho. In addition, he’s no stranger to the buddy cop game as he also served as director on the pilot episode of USA’s now defunct procedural, Common Law.
Currently, there’s still no word on who will be cast to play the lead characters of Lee and Carter, made famous by Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. When last we heard on Rush Hour, Lawrence – who has no real experience in the action game – said he would be seeking actors who could act first, and the martial arts work would be taught later on. Of course, this is the kind of statement that gives us hope. Lawrence knows the show has to look cool, and the action has to be top notch, but he also knows that cool factor can’t be superior to the performance - because, if the leads have no screen chemistry, no amount of cool action is going to convince people to keep tuning in as the first season progresses.
As it stands, we still can’t be certain Rush Hour will go to series. A lot of this feels like the adaptation of Beverly Hills Cop all over again. In that pilot, Shawn Ryan was tasked to create a sequel series that featured Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley as a guest star to his son Aaron, played by Brandon T. Jackson. However, despite having Men in Black’s Barry Sonnenfeld in the director chair, CBS ultimately passed on the pilot for series order and it was never heard from again.
It’s hard to know at this stage of the game if Rush Hour is going to go the way of Beverly Hills Cop, but it does say something to CBS’s credit that a brand-name alone isn’t going to be enough to convince them to take on the show. They need to know it’s good and sustainable. Only then will they grant the much sought after episode order.
Stay tuned for more on Rush Hour as it develops.