Vin Diesel to Star In/Produce ‘Kojak’ on the Big Screen for Universal

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I hope Vin Diesel likes lollipops. Universal is going ahead with a set in the modern day big screen adaptation of 70s TV staple, Kojak. Deadline is reporting that Philip Gawthorne has taken over script writing duties from Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. Diesel is set to star as Lt. Detective Theo Kojak, the bald lollipop sucking homicide detective originally portrayed by Telly Savalas, as well as produce the film alongside Samantha Vincent, Scott Stuber, and Dylan Clark. Diesel has the chops to play the part and make it his own, I just don’t know if we really need a new Kojak. The nostalgia train just keeps chugging along.

Created by Abby Mann, and loosely based on the novel Justice In The Backroom, the original series had a five year run from 1973 until cancellation in 1978, and Savalas made the character an iconic piece of American lore. There was a television remake in 2005 starring Ving Rhames, but after one season it was gone. So gone that I didn’t even hear about it, and only found out about it researching for this piece.

The series is a Universal Television Library title, and with all of the remakes being filmed over the past decade, I’m surprised it took them this long to dust it off. Universal are wanting to build a character driven franchise with Kojak. But are audiences ready for that? Who loves ya, baby?

 

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