Hollywood Hires: Kojak’s Getting Diesel; Ricky Gervais to Hang With Muppets?

Vin DieselVin Diesel and Ricky Gervais brought the unemployment rate down yesterday. Here’s why:

  • Gervais is in talks as the lead in the The Muppets sequel. Most of the team from the reboot — writer Nicholas Stoller, director James Bobin, and music man Bret McKenzie, who copped the Oscar the first time out — are back on board, but Jason Segel’s out, leaving one human-sized hole to fill. Gervais actually filmed a cameo for the first flick that didn’t make the cut, so looks like he’ll have a chance for redemption. By the way, this one’s set in Europe; Modern Family’s Ty Burrell is already on board as “lazy Interpol inspector.” (As in, a person who works for the International Criminal Police Organization, not a person who checks to see how many of the words to Turn on the Bright Lights you know). The Euro plotline hasn’t been revealed yet, so might we suggest: The Muppets go on a post-high-school graduation soul-searching backpacking trip?
  • Universal’s doing a Kojak reboot, and Vin Diesel’s stepping in to Telly Savalas’s shoes. The original bald-cop procedural, which ran on CBS in the mid-’70s, will get an uplift from the writing team of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who are just coming off the smash success of Skyfall. Vin just finished Fast and the Furious 6 and, at the rate those things print money, probably has to get back to shoot Fast and the Furious 7 through Fast and the Furious: Snake Eating Itself pretty soon. In the meanwhile, Diesel, Purvis, and Wade will team up on another reboot for which the target audience will have only the dimmest recognition of the source material. By the way, how intense must the casting for this thing have been? Between Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Michael Chiklis, Bob Hoskins, Phil Collins, and Mr. Clean, Hollywood is positively brimming with fresh bald talent these days.

Filed Under: Movie News, Ricky Gervais, The Muppets, Vin Diesel

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Amos Barshad has written for New York magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad