Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Knight Without Armor in a Savage Land

[[F I L M]] * Sheesh! I thought actor Will Smith’s plan to make a movie version of the 1968-1970 action-adventure show It Takes a Thief was dumb. But it seems like positive genius, compared now with rap singer Eminem’s proposal to star in a big-screen, contemporary version of the CBS-TV Western series Have Gun--Will Travel (1957-1963). I heard about this a few days ago, but sort of hoped it would go away if I didn’t pay attention. Unfortunately, TV Squad has now picked up the story, reporting that “Paramount Pictures has agreed to extend the option on this property 18 more months so the Detroit rapper can develop it as a vehicle. Eminem, also known to his mom as Marshall Mathers III, says that he’s excited about this opportunity and will most likely be involved with the movie’s soundtrack.”

The talk is that Eminem intends to inhabit the role of Paladin, the gentleman-turned-gunfighter who was played so well on television by Richard Boone (interestingly, a direct descendent of frontiersman Daniel Boone). But the film’s action will take place not in San Francisco, where the original Paladin had his home and headquarters (at the fictitious Hotel Carlton), but in markedly less romantic Detroit. And Eminem’s Paladin, while he may still dress in black, dine on gourmet cuisine, and carry around business cards printed with “Have Gun--Will Travel” over a knight chess piece, will be turned into a bounty hunter. Somehow I suspect that this new Paladin won’t embody the strong morals, conscience, and sense of justice that his predecessor did. As TV Squad concludes in its report on this film project, “Boone, who died in 1981, was reportedly rolling in his grave and attempting to haunt Eminem to stop production.”

Just the fact that Eminem might want to “modernize” this series’ classic theme song is enough to put me off my feed for a week.

READ MORE:Eminem Loading ‘Gun,’” by Chris Gardner (Variety).

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