New Line Cinema are reviving legendary Blaxploitation franchise ‘Shaft’ once more, and Jessie T Usher will be taking the lead.
Deadline report that the ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ actor – in which he played the role of Will Smith’s son – has landed the title role in ‘Son of Shaft,’ a revival of the private eye series from director Tim Story (‘Fantastic Four,’ ‘Ride Along’), and writer Kenya Barris (TV’s ‘Blackish’).
This is one revival of a time-honoured movie property that most definitely isn’t a reboot, as original ‘Shaft’ star Richard Roundtree is also set to appear, whilst Samuel L Jackson – who took the title role as John Shaft’s nephew in 2000’s ‘Shaft’ from director John Singleton – is also said to be in talks to return.
As the title suggests, 25-year old Usher will portray “the son of the detective, who, after long being estranged from his father, finds himself teamed up with him.” Reportedly Shaft Jr is “an FBI agent, a cyber expert, and the partnership with dad is an uneasy collision of old school meets new school.”
Author Ernest Tidyman introduced the character of John Shaft in his 1970 novel ‘Shaft,’ and brought him back in a further six novels. Richard Roundtree played the role in 1971’s ‘Shaft’ from director Gordon Parks, and reprised it in two sequels – 1972’s ‘Shaft in Africa’ and 1973’s ‘Shaft’s Big Score’ – as well as a short-lived TV series.
Along with ‘Superfly,’ the franchise was key in launching the Blaxploitation craze of the 1970s. It also boasts one of the most famous theme tunes of all time, in Isaac Hayes’ Oscar-winning title song.
The 2000 ‘Shaft’ with Samuel L Jackson was a modest success, taking $107 million at the global box office.
No release date for ‘Son of Shaft’ has been announced at present, but the film is reportedly scheduled to start production this autumn.