ChiPs, the classic television show from the 1970’s, the show that told us that the motorcycling cops of the California Highway Patrol were actually super-cool guys who usually got the girls, is coming to a theater near you.
Dax Shepard, star of Parenthood, has been hired by Warner Bros. to write, direct and star in a new ChiPs film. Dax will play Officer Jon Baker, the straight-shooter of the ChiPs duo played by Larry Wilcox in the original show, and Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, the lighthearted loose cannon originally played by Erik Estrada, will be played by Michael Pena.
Though remakes have been made in the past of all sorts of 70’s and early 80’s shows including Starsky and Hutch, The Brady Bunch to Charlie’s Angels andLand of the Lost, most of them had a humorous bent, though that may not be the case for ChiPs. According to Aint it Cool News, Warner Bros. is thinking of taking a more serious tone with the California Motorcycle police buddy movie, a la Bad Boys or Lethal Weapon. With that in mind, there’s a good chance ChiPs won’t take place in the era which the television show was produced, but rather will be a modern-day update. However, that might not be the worst thing. Looking at Charlie’s Angels (the one film listed above that had the least humorous footings) and its sequel prove that if one of these small-to-big-screen adaptations is done well and in the right spirit, there’s a possibly large payday at the end of it all.
This isn’t the first time a ChiPs movie has been attempted. Several years ago, That 70’s Show star, Wilmer Valderrama, showed up in a Warner Bros. exec’s office wearing the skin-tight ChiPs uniform. He walked out with a deal to star as Ponch in the film. However, that version fizzled out and was forgotten. Clearly, that film would have been a farcical, more humorous attempt at bringing the California Highway Patrol to the big screen then what Warner Bros. currently has planned.
Dax Shepard’s resume isn’t that long. He wrote and directed an indie comedy entitled Hit & Run in which he starred alongside Kristen Bell. Shepard also directed one episode of Parenthood, in which he also appeared. Dax Shepard is also a professional race car and motorcycle driver, and expects to be performing his own riding and stunts in the ChiPs film.
Shepard’s Primate Pictures is producing the big-screen version of ChiPs along with Andrew Panay.
images via marinephotos and khojakhugee