New Line’s Shaft Reboot To Reinvent Story; Expect More Drama Than Comedy


A fortnight ago, we brought you the news that Shaft – like seemingly every other project released before 2000 – is in line for the reboot treatment, with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris attached to bring back the cult procedural drama. Now, we have an update on the show’s new groove, which will reportedly reinvent the story made famous by Richard Roundtree in the early 70s.

In development over at New Line, producer John Davis allayed fears that the studio’s modern take on the original Blaxploitation film won’t sully its reputation; instead, the creative team is said to be gunning for a more drama-oriented procedural, with comedic elements scattered throughout. During the recent Television Critics Association press event, here’s what David had to share in anticipation of the Shaft retelling.

“It’s a reinvention of the story so that it’s both fresh and harkens back to what we love about that character. It’s drama, but it’s going to be drama with a lot of fun moments. A lot of lighter moments.”

Naturally, the character of John Shaft will be tweaked ever so slightly to chime with the tastes of modern audiences. Fear not, though: the private detective will still retain his badass persona, and we’re hoping New Line’s series can channel the film noir feel of the 1971 original.

“But that’s just a great character. He’s just the greatest badass. You start with an amazing character – a great badass with charisma. He’s a lot like Phillip in [The Player], guys with a kind of violent past who are willing to stand up to stuff, who will go to unconventional means to do what’s right.”

Fans of the titular detective will know all too well that John Singleton’s 2000 interpretation, which imagined Samuel L. Jackson as a cousin of Roundtree’s indelible enforcer, failed to live up to its heritage, acting as a spinoff of sorts as opposed to a full reboot. It’s unclear whether New Line’s bona fide retelling will acknowledge this adjacent storyline, but we’re excited to see Shaft return to the silver screen nevertheless.