Universal is developing a big screen adaption of the classic 1970s private eye series The Rockford Files with Vince Vaughn tapped to take on James Garner’s iconic lead role. The studio has hired screenwriters David Levien and Brian Koppelman to pen the adaption of the down on his luck PI who lives and works out of a mobile home near Malibu Beach. Previously, Universal’s corporate sibling NBC had been trying to revive the show for prime time but that version withered in development.
While I do like Vaughn in some of the things he has been in, I think that this is a terrible choice. I’ve only just recently started to wade through the entirety of the original television series courtesy of Hulu and I’m appreciating how the show takes many hardboiled detective/film noir tropes and reinvents them for the show. While they are both actors who can radiate charm, Vaughn strikes me as a bit doughy and lacking the grit that Garner brought to the role. With Vaughn headlining, I have a feeling as if Universal is looking to amplify the moments of wry comedy to make them a much more dominate part of the film’s tone. This strikes me as a huge mistake. It didn’t work for The Green Hornet or 21 Jump Street and it doesn’t look like it’s going be any better in the upcoming Dark Shadows.
Of course, my speculation here could be wrong. I hope it is. In the meantime, let’s all enjoy Mike post’s classic and quite awesome theme song for the show-