Vin Diesel taking on the lead role in Universal’s Kojak might seem like a pretty easy casting choice. Kojak is tough, mean and bald, which pretty much describes Diesel. Of course, the next big question for the film is who Universal will pick to direct the police procedural adaptation. Thanks to the actor’s chronic inability to avoid teasing his fans via his Facebook page, we now know that Diesel has a first choice in mind: Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee.
Diesel associated Lee with Kojak after a fan asked him who he would like to work with in the future. His cryptic response, “Kojak…New York…Ang Lee,” is not exactly an announcement, but it is a somewhat intriguing prospect. Could Lee be persuaded to helm Kojak, or is this just Diesel dreaming?
We can presume that Kojak will follow the same basic premise as the original television show, which starred Telly Savalas as a badass NYPD detective lieutenant who took on a variety of baddies week after week with his trademark cynicism, wit and propensity for not playing by the rules. While that’s not exactly the recipe for your usual Lee film, the director has a history of traversing genres. He’s previously been behind the camera on a superhero film (Hulk), a martial arts fantasy epic (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), a Regency costume drama (Sense and Sensibility), and a fantasy book adaptation (Life of Pi). It’s not much of a stretch to imagine that he might be interested in testing out a police procedural drama.
As for right now, though, it’s difficult to tell whether this is something substantial or just Diesel starting a groundless rumor. Perhaps he can get Lee interested in the project if he talks about it enough, or maybe Lee is already involved and Diesel is dropping a major scoop, but the actor’s Facebook post will likely remain a simple tease for the moment. I do have to admit that I’m intrigued by the prospect of a Kojak adaptation in general, and we’ll be bringing you more updates on the film as it shapes up.
What do you think of the possibility of Ang Lee directing Vin Diesel in Kojak? Does that pairing sound like it would work? Let us know in the comments section.