'Naked Gun' reboot still happening, says co-creator David Zucker

Leslie Nielsen starred in three Naked Gun movies. (Paramount)
Leslie Nielsen starred in three Naked Gun movies. (Paramount)

There could be a fourth Naked Gun film on the way, if series co-creator David Zucker gets his way.

The director and co-creator of the series told Little White Lies that he’s planning a new Naked Gun film centred on Frank Drebin Jr., and he hopes to cast Bill Hader as the son of Leslie Nielsen’s bungling detective.

Zucker, one third of comedy team Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker (ZAZ) who were responsible for Airplane! and the 1982 Police Squad TV series that spawned the Naked Gun films, confirmed a script was in the works and that the fourth film would be a spoof of “The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible and James Bond.”

“We’re doing a fourth one now,” Zucker told LWL ahead of the 30 anniversary of 1988’s The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!.

“So many years have passed since the last Naked Gun, but I think that sense of humour is very much still alive. People still laugh at these kind of slapstick jokes and characters taking it all seriously. It just hasn’t been done in 10 years.”

The comedy spoof, which also starred OJ Simpson, spawned two sequels: The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear in 1991, and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult in 1994. Leslie Nielsen, who played Detective Frank Drebin in all three films sadly passed away in 2010, but the new film will focus on his son who’s out of the solve the mystery of his father’s demise.

“Now it’s the son of Frank Drebin,” Zucker says. “There’s an evil Russian crime lord who killed Frank Drebin and swore to kill every Drebin he could find in the phone book so he and his mother Jane (Priscilla Presley) are in witness protection.”

“Drebin’s son is recruited by the CIA to be a decoy and try to take down the Russian crime lord. He flies to Europe and it becomes a spoof on The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible, and James Bond.”

Zucker says he’s working on a second draft of a script with Pat Proft (Police Academy, Scary Movie 3) and another writer called Mike McManus.

The Hangover star Ed Helms had been previously linked with the role of Drebin, but he told Yahoo in 2015 that the film was stuck in development hell.

It sounds like Helms has dropped out of the project now, with Zucker touting SNL star Bill Hader for the lead role.

“We have the advantage of being able to get a comedian this time. It doesn’t have to be another straight man actor like Leslie,” Zucker explains when asked about replacing Nielsen.

“We were thinking of perhaps Bill Hader. I think he’s marvellous. He’s able to be a leading man and a comedian at the same time so he’s one possibility. It can definitely work again.”

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