Vin Diesel's 'Kojak' Movie is Back On With a New Writer

Vin Diesel's 'Kojak' Movie is Back On With a New Writer

Jun 19, 2015

Who loves ya, baby? If by baby we mean any of you still waiting for the Vin Diesel Kojak movie, then the answer is Universal Pictures. The studio has put the TV adaptation back on track with a new writer attached. According to Deadline, the next draft will be penned by English playwright Philip Gawthorne, who hasn't really done anything for Hollywood yet, though he's working on a Cube remake for Lionsgate. He also has a feature adaptation of his award-winning stagework Modern Life is Rubbish in the works. 

Gawthorne will have to do what a couple of James Bond staples, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, couldn't over the course of two years. The writing duo, who worked on Skyfall, Quantum of SolaceCasino RoyaleDie Another DayThe World Is Not Enough and the upcoming Spectre, had been aboard Kojak from the beginning, when it was optioned in late 2012. Maybe Diesel wants something more xXx than 007 again, or maybe Purvis and Wade tried to make this more like their Bond-spoofing Johnny English movies. 

It's very unlikely Kojak will go the comedic route that many TV adaptations have in the past. Even sticking with the iconic lollipop addiction Telly Savalas seemed to have when he played the role on the small screen in the 1970s could appear to silly. Universal is looking to make this another franchise for Diesel, who also stars in their Fast and Furious movies (the studio has also handled distribution of his Riddick series). All that we really can assume is that Diesel will keep his head bald as usual, like Savalas.

In 2013, Diesel posted to Facebook a hint that he'd like Ang Lee to direct Kojak, though it's hard to see how the director, then recently honored with his second directing Oscar, would be a good fit for a picture about a tough detective in New York City. But who would be? Unfortunately Sidney Lumet, who directed Diesel in Find Me Guilty, passed away four years ago.

As one of the adaptation's producers, Diesel will have some say in who they get to helm this thing, and as far as I know Lee doesn't have anything planned after next year's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Or how well the director and actor, who stars in that movie, have been enjoying working together.

Depending on how long Gawthorne can deliver a script that passes muster, it should still be a while before we see Kojak on the big screen. We'll keep you updated as we learn more, because we also love ya, baby. 




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