Ready to reopen the files of Police Squad? You may be in luck. Twenty-four years have passed since Leslie Nielsen’s last outing as Lt Frank Drebin, in 1994’s The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, which surely that means this pratfall-prone cop is long overdue a revival?
Director and series co-creator David Zucker thinks so… “We’re doing a fourth one now,” he reveals ahead of the 30th anniversary of the franchise’s 1988 debut. “So many years have passed since the last Naked Gun, but I think that sense of humour is very much still alive. People still laugh at these kind of slapstick jokes and characters taking it all seriously. It just hasn’t been done in 10 years.”
Sounds intriguing – but how does the Airplane! director plan to reboot The Naked Gun without its leading man lynchpin, Nielsen, who passed away back in 2010? Zucker has an answer for that one too. “Now it’s the son of Frank Drebin. There’s an evil Russian crime lord who killed Frank Drebin and swore to kill every Drebin he could find in the phone book so he and his mother Jane (Priscilla Presley) are in witness protection.”
Zucker continues, “Drebin’s son is recruited by the CIA to be a decoy and try to take down the Russian crime lord. He flies to Europe and it becomes a spoof on The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible and James Bond.”
According to Zucker, pre-production for this as-yet-untitled fourth instalment is currently underway, with series co-writer and Police Academy mastermind Pat Proft on script duties. “I’m writing with Pat and another writer named Mike McManus. Paramount love the first draft and have asked for a second, so we’re working on it,” says Zucker.
As for who might be faced with the daunting task of stepping into Frank Drebin Sr’s gumshoes? Nothing is confirmed, but Zucker has a few ideas. “We have the advantage of being able to get a comedian this time. It doesn’t have to be another straight man actor like Leslie,” he explains. “We were thinking of perhaps Bill Hader. I think he’s marvellous. He’s able to be a leading man and a comedian at the same time so he’s one possibility. It can definitely work again.”
Published 22 Oct 2018
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