Of they could just create a new crime drama project for Vin Diesel to star in; but, no, it has to be based on an already existing work, if only because there’s an already existing fan base for it, and they hope that Diesel’s popularity will also attract new, younger audiences who may have never watched a single episode of the original TV series – believed by some to be one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
Of course I’m talking about Kojak (I think the name has even become a verb, or an adjective, hasn’t it?), the gritty CBS police procedural series starring Telly Savalas as the bald, tough, usually dapper, stubborn and tenacious character – an NYC detective with a dark wit, who had no problem bending the rules if it meant getting the job done, and solving a case.
The series ran from 1973 to 1978, on CBS.
Universal Pictures has tapped the writing team of Neal Purvis & Robert Wade to pen the script for a movie that will star Vin Diesel as Kojak, but, as Deadline notes, re-imagined and contemporized for the big screen.
How much re-imagining and contemporizing will happen, we don’t know yet. But since the writers hired are the same team who wrote the Skyfall script (they wrote the 4 previous Bond movies), maybe we’ll get a less gritty, and more glossy Kojak.
Now let’s all try imagining Diesel speaking Kojak’s popular catchphrase, “Who loves ya, baby?“
Savalas, who died in 1994, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series two years in a row, winning the Emmy in 1974. He was also nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a TV Drama Series from 1975 to 1978, winning twice, in 1975 and 1976.
I wasn’t around for the entire original run of the series, but I caught up much later, long after the series went off the air, when I was old enough to watch. Although it’s been awhile; I need to revisit.
A glimpse below: