A modern day film adaptation of the classic TV series Kojak will be written by British screenwriter Philip Gawthorne.
Philip Gawthorne, who has written predominantly for British TV shows such as Casualty and EastEnders, takes over writing duties from James Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who wrote a previous draft of the screenplay.
Kojak is intended to be a starring vehicle for Vin Diesel, who will also produce.
Vin Diesel most recently starred in Furious 7, with worldwide takings of more than $1.5 billion.
Original Kojak series aired on CBS from 1973 to1978 and starred Telly Savalas as the lollypop-sucking Lieutenant Theo Kojak.
Furious 8 will be released on April 14, 2017, Vin Diesel confirmed at Universal’s CinemaCon panel on April 23.
Vin Diesel told the crowd of theater owners: “It means a lot to me to get your blessing.”
The actor took the audience back to two years ago when on the same stage at Caesars Palace, he and Paul Walker said they planned to move forward on a seventh film in the Fast and Furious franchise.
Paul Walker died in a 2013 car crash.
At various points after Paul Walker’s shocking death, it seemed as though Universal might have to cancel the production.
Furious 7 shooting was not yet complete when the crash happened, but special effects technicians and stunt doubles were able to complete the project, resulting in what domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou termed, “a cathartic experience for fans of Walker”.
Furious 7 has topped the global box office by taking $384 million in its opening weekend.
Almost half of that figure – $190 million – was made at the US box office.
Globally, it is the fourth-highest opening of all time, beaten only by two Harry Potter movies and The Avengers.
Interest in Furious 7 was at least partially tied to its late star Paul Walker, who died in a car crash in before the movie was completed in 2013.
Following the fatal accident, production on Furious 7 was suspended while the filmmakers decided whether or not to proceed.
The team ultimately decided to delay the release from its scheduled July 2014 date. Paul Walker’s scenes were completed using a mixture of computer animation and body doubles – including two of the star’s younger brothers, Caleb and Cody.
“This is a bittersweet installment in the franchise,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.
“Walker’s passing made this movie more intriguing for people who hadn’t seen some of the installments. It raised awareness and its success is a tribute to him.”
The original – The Fast and the Furious, released in June 2001 – was a sleeper hit that spawned a few moderately successful sequels.
After the third movie in the series, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift, left cinemas with a franchise-worst box office of $158 million, it seemed the series would be scrapped, or move to the straight-to-DVD market.
Instead, executives persuaded Vin Diesel, the star of the original film, to return and made Fast & Furious – a heist film set overseas.
Since then, the franchise has gone from strength to strength, with each movie outperforming the last.
North American box office Top 5:
Furious 7 – $143.6 million
Home – $27.4 million
Get Hard – $12.9 million
Cinderella – $10.3 million
The Divergent Series: Insurgent – $10 million [youtube Skpu5HaVkOc 650]
Vin Diesel has nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
The star also put forward Angelina Jolie and Michelle Obama.
Although Vladimir Putin has not given an outright no, his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the President probably wasn’t aware of the challenge – and apparently has more important things to be thinking about.
Vin Diesel has nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (photo YouTube)
“We’ve had other things on our agenda,” Dmitry Peskov told Russian newspaper Lenta.ru.
Other high-profile names to have taken part in the campaign, which raises money for ALS Association, the US charity that helps sufferers of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, include Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Lady Gaga and Charlie Sheen.
President Barack Obama has already declined his nomination and has made a donation to the ALS Association instead.
Fast & Furious 7 will be released in 2015 after studio executives put production on hiatus following Paul Walker’s death last month, Vin Diesel confirmed.
Paul Walker died in a fiery car crash in California on November 30, a day before he and his castmates were scheduled to resume filming in Atlanta, Georgia.
Executives at Universal Studios closed work on Fast & Furious 7 while the cast and crew were in mourning, and producers came up with a plan on how to resume filming without the franchise’s main star.
Fast & Furious 7 will be released in 2015 after studio executives put production on hiatus following Paul Walker’s death
Vin Diesel has reached out to fans on Facebook to reveal the movie will hit cinemas in April 2015, almost a year after its planned release date of July 2014.
The actor wrote: “There was a unique sense of completion, of pride we shared… in the film we were now completing … the magic captured… and, in just how far we’ve come…Fast and Furious 7 will be released April 10th 2015! P.s. He’d want you to know first.”
Vin Diesel also shared a photo of the last scene he and Paul Walker filmed together.