TV to Film Adaptations

Vin Diesel

Today is the best day ever for people who have fantasized about Vin Diesel sucking on a lollipop. Deadline reports that Universal is setting the mumbly-mouthed mountain of a man up as the new actor to play Kojak, the ’70s-era NYPD detective best known for his bald head, dapper attire, and always having a lollipop hanging out of his mouth. The character originally appeared in a CBS crime procedural, also called Kojak, which aired from 1973-1978 and starred Greek-American actor Telly Savalas in the title role. The good news doesn’t stop there, though. Every new big screen adaptation of an old TV show needs to start off by having a script, and along with securing Diesel in the title role, this new Kojak has also tapped Skyfall scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade to put pen to page. Skyfall, of course, was one of the most financially successful films of 2012, and largely garnered positive reviews, so this is good news, no? Okay, so it’s more of a mixed bag when you factor in that they also wrote The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace, but let’s try to focus on the positive, okay? Now that a screenwriting team and a star have been put in place for this new look at an old cop, there are two big questions that are still hanging in the air. The first is who they are going to get to direct the film, and the second […]

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Manimal

Let’s see a show of hands…how many of you remember the NBC series Manimal? Yeah, not too many. And with good reason. Manimal was a ridiculous show about a college professor who had the ability to turn himself into animals. What would you imagine a stuffy, academic type would do once he gained such phenomenal abilities? Why, he fights crime alongside a sexy police lady and one of his old ‘Nam buddies, of course. Manimal debuted in 1983 to abysmal ratings and even worse reviews, and only aired 8 episodes before the plug was pulled. It being something from the ’80s that someone somewhere might remember, however, still makes it a prime candidate to get a big screen adaptation, so THR is reporting that Sony Pictures Animation has won what was most likely an intense bidding war to acquire the rights to the property.

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Despite the fact that it seemed like a pipe dream when the idea was first kicked around, development on a feature film version of the failed Starz sitcom Party Down seems to be chugging along steadily and assuredly. First the movie was just a twinkle in its creators eyes, then things started looking better as everyone involved began synching up their schedules, and now the whole thing appears to be a done deal. At least according to Megan Mullally. At a recent press tour, Mullally answered questions about what she has coming up by saying, “I will be doing the Party Down movie. John [Enbom] is writing it right now.” That’s not exactly new news in itself, we already knew that work was being done on the script; but some of Mullally’s other comments make things sound further along than the last time this project was talked about. First off, Mullally knows some details about where her character is going. She added, “I think we’re going to see Lydia’s ex-husband – Ed I think is name (sic) – who was really racist and a misogynist.” Also, it sounds like financing for the film is all taken care of. Before Enbom started work writing the script proper, Mullally says that he turned in an outline to investors that was “enthusiastically approved.”

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Peter Tolan has written a number of movies, but he’s probably best known at this point for his work in television. Not only was he a writer on the ridiculously influential The Larry Sanders Show, but he was also the creator of the well-liked and recently wrapped up FX drama Rescue Me. This is a guy who knows TV, so why wouldn’t he be the guy tapped to do a big screen adaptation of one of the longest running and successful TV dramas of all time? No reason, I’d give him a shot at it. But the TV drama that I’d be adapting for a big screen version probably wouldn’t be Baywatch. Running from 1989-2001, Baywatch was a cheesy, low quality action show about lifeguards that starred David Hasselhoff and an endless parade of bouncing bosoms. It was known for its slow motion running scenes just as much as it was for its bad dialogue and ridiculous plot lines, and probably it ran so long because it was cheap to produce and a good thing to zone out to when you were hung over on Sunday mornings. That’s all fine and good, Baywatch filled its niche, but a live action movie? In 2011? Don’t worry, that’s not going to be an issue. Though the film is going to be called Baywatch, and Tolan has already turned in a first draft of the script, don’t expect it to have anything to do with a shirtless David Hasselhoff or a wedgie sporting […]

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Seeing as it was on the Starz network and only lasted for two seasons, there are probably a lot of people out there who haven’t heard of the TV show Party Down. But seeing as it was one of the best shows on recent television, there are also a lot of people who hold it very dear to their hearts. That tends to happen when something is good, and kept away from the mainstream, and ended prematurely. Traditionally, a TV show reaching cult status has always been a good recipe for strong DVD sales, and then talks of a film adaptation. Shows like Arrested Development and even Party Down creator Rob Thomas’ Veronica Mars have gone through the same process. Also traditionally, despite the fact that the DVD sales raise a lot of studio eyebrows, the film version never comes to fruition. Could Party Down change all of that? Probably not, but they’re going to try.

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Just moments ago I hopped online to search for ‘Cheeseburger in a Can’ and noticed an email in my inbox — it contained information that did cause me to wet myself.0

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