Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, having concluding a run of working on five James Bond movies, have been hired to script a Kojak film starring Vin Diesel, according to the Deadline entertainment news Web site.
Here’s an excerpt:
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is getting serious about Kojak, hiring the scribe team of Neal Purvis & Robert Wade to script a movie around the tough-talking, smooth scalped cop played by Telly Savalas on the CBS series. Vin Diesel, who just wrapped Fast And Furious 6 for the studio, will play the chrome-domed cop in the film, which he’s producing with Samantha Vincent for their Universal-based One Race Films.
The original 1973-78 series originated with a made-for-TV movie called The Marcus-Nelson Murders that first aired in March 1973. That original project was scripted by Abby Mann, an Oscar winning screenwriter, and directed by Joseph Sargent. It gave Telly Savalas, normally cast as villains (including 1969′s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), a chance to play a sympathetic role. The story was based on the Wylie-Hoffert murders, also known as the Career Girls Murders, which led to to Miranda warnings.
Director Sargent won an Emmy and a Directors Guild of America award for The Marcus-Nelson Murders while Mann was nominated for an Emmy.
The CBS series made Savalas a big star and, for a time, a sex symbol (starting in the second season he doffed neckties a lot and didn’t button the first button or two of his dress shirts). Kojak’s catchphrase was, “Who loves ya, baby?” Kojak, trying to quit smoking, frequently sucked lollipops. The cast included the star’s brother George as one of the New York City detectives that worked with Kojak. The first season of the series included Christopher Walken and Harvey Keitel as guest stars. Richard Donner directed some episodes.
Savalas reprised the role in a some TV movies on ABC (part of a Mystery Movie revival that included Peter Falk as Columbo). There was also a brief revival series on cable television in 2005, starring Ving Rhames as Kojak.
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Filed under: James Bond Films Tagged: | Abby Mann, ABC, CBS, Christopher Walken, George Savalas, Harvey Keitel, James Bond Films, Joseph Sargent, Kojak, Neal Purvis, Nikki Finke's Deadline Web site, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Richard Donner, Robert Wade, Telly Savalas, The Career Girls Murders, The Marcus-Nelson Murders, Vin Diesel, Ving Rhames