The motto at Universal must be "If at first you don't succeed, flog a dead horse."
Why do I say that?
Because after developing a Rockford Files TV remake starring Dermot Mulroney that fizzled before it got made, Universal Pictures is trying to do it again, this time as a feature film starring Vince Vaughn in the title role.
Now for those of you who were culturally deprived The Rockford Files was a TV series that ran on the NBC network between 1974 and 1980 that was created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell, and starred veteran movie and TV star James Garner.
It was about Jim Rockford a blue collar guy who spent 5 years in San Quentin because of a wrongful conviction, and was now running a one man private investigation business out of his trailer in a parking lot by the beach in Malibu, occasionally helped by his dad, and a grifter prison buddy who acted as his snitch.
Now Rockford's style was to try to talk his way out of trouble since he disliked violence and guns, but wasn't above car chases, which Garner did himself, because he was apparently a bitching driver.
I think it's time for me to break this project down to its PROS AND CONS!
1. FAMILIARITY. The Rockford Files is a familiar title that NBC-Universal owns.
1. FAMILIARITY. While the show has been in steady syndication since it ended over 30 years ago, it really isn't all that familiar to people under the age of 35. Which is a shame, because I remember it was a pretty good show. Those who are familiar with the show will judge it through the prism of their memories of...
2. JAMES GARNER. The entire original series was custom tailored to the charms and abilities of James Garner. They're going to look at the promotional material for the movie version, look at Vince Vaughn, and say: "He's no James Garner," and they would stay home.
3. MISSED OPPORTUNITY. Vince Vaughn could probably carry a movie about a down at heels private eye that done with humor as long as it has a good script, a solid director, and a reasonable budget that has nothing to do with The Rockford Files, and be free of the baggage associated with it. But that would require making up a new title, and that's beyond the capabilities of Universal Pictures.
That truly sad part is that if such an original private eye movie succeeds, then Universal and Vaughn would have a potential franchise that didn't need to set box office records to turn a profit.
Gotta love Hollywood, they can't stand originality when originality could really sell.