Apparently, Vince Vaughn thinks The Rockford Files is cool.
Universal Pictures is developing a big-screen version of the classic detective series featuring the tall funnyman. Vaughn and his sister, Victoria, will also serve as producers. For those with long memories (or nostalgia-happy relatives), James Garner played the lead, an ex-convict turned Malibu sleuth, in the 1974-80 series.
Moviefone.com expresses my concern regarding this announcement:
It’s not clear whether Vaughn’s version of “The Rockford Files” would go the jokey, tongue-in-cheek route of other ’70s-shows-turned-movies like “Starsky and Hutch,” or strive to be a straightforward crime drama that happens to have a clever wisecracking lead, like the original series.
Here’s the other issue: James Garner, in his prime, was a cool cat. The last time Vaughn reached that status was Swingers, which was 16 years and 35 pounds ago. George Clooney, if he weren’t canoodling with WWE Divas, would have been terrific. Mathew McConaughey, summoning his charm from The Lincoln Lawyer, would have been acceptable. Vaughn has made millions being the class clown. Can he tone that down and summon what initially made him a star? Will audiences accept such a shift?
(Whatever happens, no one better touch Mike Post’s iconic theme song. Man, that thing still rocks.)
The good news is that David Levien and Brian Koppelman, the scribes behind Rounders and Ocean’s 13, are writing the script. Those guys usually find the eloquence and the wit in the seedy corners. And, unlike the failed NBC pilot, Dermot Mulroney is nowhere to be seen.
This time credit Universal with not choosing their lead based on how good he looks in a pair of slacks.