Cue the music…
Shaft, the beloved African-American hero of the iconic blaxploitation franchise (and the subject of cinema’s most kick-ass theme song), is finally coming back to theaters. The Wrap reports that producer John Davis (Predator, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) is working on a reboot of the hit action franchise.
Private detective John Shaft was originally played by Richard Roundtree in Shaft (1971), Shaft’s Big Score (1972), Shaft in Africa (1972) and a TV series, also starring Roundtree, which played on CBS from 1973-1974. Director John Singleton directed a spin-off movie, Shaft, starring Samuel L. Jackson as the original hero’s nephew, in 2000.
Although Singleton’s Shaft was a modest hit – earning $107 million worldwide off a $46 million budget – a sequel never surfaced. But the character has remained a pop culture icon regardless, thanks in no small part to the enduring popularity of the theme song, which earned Isaac Hayes an Oscar for Best Original Song.
Details are scarce, but one imagines that John Davis is considering every popular black actor in Hollywood for the role. We expect names like Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up), David Oyelowo (Selma), Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained), Idris Elba (Luther) and even Will Smith, who was originally rumored to be up for the lead in Singleton’s spin-off, to be entering the rumor mill soon enough.
And while every single one of those actors would probably make a great John Shaft, we would like to propose an alternate route for producer John Davis: Taraji P. Henson.
There’s no particular reason why Shaft has to be a man in the modern incarnation. He’s always been a famous player, of course, but there’s no rule that says a woman can’t kick ass and bed some handsome guys in the process too. Taraji P. Henson is an Oscar-nominated actress with a lot of charisma to her credit, and she can throw a mean punch, and apparently a mean pinch. We think she’d make the role her own.
Of course, that’s just our take on Shaft. It’ll probably star a man, and it’ll probably be stylish and action-packed. The most important thing whether this new Shaft will be a great movie or not. Here’s hoping John Davis puts together the reboot all of us Shaft fans have been hoping for.