For most film fans, when the term “reboot” gets thrown around, they immediately think that the memory of their beloved movie of choice is about to get tossed off a building, run over by a bus, flattened by a steam roller and stomped on by a marching band. And thus it was with the recent news that one of the greatest slapstick movies of all time, Naked Gun, will be getting the reboot treatment. But apparently the new Ed Helms starring film is not a reboot at all, but rather a quasi-sequel with… ahem… “no relation” to the original.
Craveonline managed to speak to Robert Ben Garant (Reno 911!, Night at the Museum, Hell Baby), who is co-writing the new Naked Gun with his regular writing partner Tom Lennon, and according to the screenwriter the new film will still see Helms as Detective Frank Drebbin, but in taking a tip from a running gag in the original film, will not actually be the character of the same made famous by the late, great Leslie Nielsen.
“Our take is that Ed Helms is Frank Drebin, no relation. That’s how he introduces himself.”
(And now that joke at the end of my first paragraph suddenly makes sense, doesn’t it?)
Garant went on to explain that they won’t just be doing what many reboots do, which is use the title of a famous movie but throw out all the elements that made it so beloved in the first place, and instead will be trying to replicate the tone of the original series.
“We are trying to reinvent the world because that world was very ‘Dragnet,’ but we’re trying to fit in 100 jokes a page. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re very much embracing the style.”
Garant and co are aware though that they have their work cut out for them, as Nielsen was one incredibly tough act to follow.
“We’re making it pretty clear that [Ed Helm’s] not Leslie Nielsen. Those are just too big of shoes to fill but we’re going to try to do as good as those. Those movies are so funny. They’re so solid.”
The later Naked Gun films, are known for their funny titles (The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear, The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult) and it looks like they’re already thinking along the same lines.
“Right now we’re calling it Episode IV – A New Hope. That will change, but that’s the working title.”
While I find the Night at the Museum films – all of which Garant and Lennon have written, including the upcoming third film – to be nothing more than some decent fun family fair, I absolutely love the work they did on Reno 911!, which boasts a tongue firmly entrenched in cheek style that could lend itself well to the wacky world of Naked Gun. For me, it’s Helms that’s going to be the make or break point in this endeavour, and unfortunately I haven’t yet seen anything that leads me to believe he has the deadpanning skills to live up to his predecessor.
I hope that I’m wrong though. The world already has enough bad reboots, and today’s generation is in dire need of instruction on how a slapstick movie can be done right.
Last Updated: January 13, 2014