Slapstick is getting a big screen revival: a reboot of the “Naked Gun” comedy film franchise is in development at Paramount Pictures, IndieWire has confirmed.
Liam Neeson is in talks to star in the film as the son of original protagonist Frank Drebin, a well-meaning but hapless police detective portrayed in the original series by the late Leslie Nielsen. Attached to direct is Akiva Schaffer, best known as a member of the comedy group The Lonely Island and the director of this year’s “Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers,” which won the Emmy for best television film this year.
The writers of “Chip ‘n Dale,” Dan Gregor and Doug Mand, will pen the script, based on an original treatment from Mark Hentemann and Alec Sulkin. Schaffer will executive produce the film, with Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins producing via their production company Fuzzy Door.
The original films spun off from the comedy series “Police Squad!” which aired for a mere six episodes on ABC in 1982. Created by slapstick comedy writing trio Jim Abrahams and brothers David and Jerry Zucker, best known for their 1980 film“Airplane,” the show also starred Nielsen as Drebin and parodied the conventions of police procedurals. Despite its failure, the show was eventually adapted into the original “The Naked Gun” in 1988, with David Zucker directing the film and writing the script with Abrahams and his brother.
The film proved a commercial and critical success, grossing $150 million on a $12 million budget. Critics were also receptive to the film, praising its fast-paced comedic style. Two sequels followed, which garnered mixed reviews from critics but received similar success at the box office.
A sequel or reboot to the franchise has been in development for almost a decade, with Ed Helms attached to star as Drebin in a new “Naked Gun” in 2013. The film ultimately went through multiple rewrites, including changing its focus to Drebin’s son, with MacFarlane being brought on to produce the project last year.