In a report in The Wrap it was announced that New Line have bought the movie rights to Shaft, initially brought to the screen by Gordon Parks on behalf of MGM in 1971. What this means in terms of approach is as yet unclear, but John Davis of Davis Entertainment has been named as the producer. Davis has become a reboot specialist recently with the soon to be released The Man from UNCLE and Victor Frankenstein.
David Walker has posted his wish list for the new film here and I agree 100% with his thoughts. The character has to be set in period and remain true to Ernest Tidyman’s original novels – otherwise they may as well give him a new name. The Shaft of the novels is a man of depth with a history that has never been explored on screen. My hope too is that Davis is sympathetic to Tidyman’s hero.
The last attempt to relaunch the franchise was John Singleton’s Shaft in 2000, which suffered from having to conform to studio demands and updating the story to be based around Shaft’s nephew. The film became a compromise and failed to satisfy fans of the original or ignite enough new interest for a continuation with a new John Shaft.
We wait for further announcements – most importantly who will be the new John Shaft.