Can Gary Whitta’s dream for a Columbo reboot actually come to pass? While there’s no project on the books at the moment, the Star Wars: Rogue One writer opened up about his ideas for a new version of Columbo – with Mark Ruffalo in the lead role – during an interview on Kinda Funny’s The GameOverGreggy Show podcast.
“We had an initial conversation with NBC and they basically shut us down,” Whitta said, Kojak with Vin Diesel and other similar projects already in the works. So while Columbo isn’t in active development, Whitta calls it a “dream project,” one that has support from former Rogue One director Josh Trank.
“So it laid fallow for a little while,” Whitta said. “But part of what maybe got it going again is Josh Trank … I became friendly with him and he is like the biggest Columbo fan on the planet. After I started talking about Columbo online, he sent me this massive long email … and he got excited about it. So there is actually renewed effort at the moment. There’s me, and Josh, and a couple of other people who are in the wings on it who are trying to figure out if there is actually a way to do it.”
Trank has tweeted his support of the reboot idea previously, and Ruffalo has expressed his interest as well. Whitta said he, Trank, and Ruffalo all want to do it, but Ruffalo “is super booked up and also his attitude would be like, because we haven’t had a real conversation with him yet, but he’d be like ‘Yeah, I’m open to it, but I’ve got to hear what the actually idea is.’”
Though Whitta isn’t ready to reveal what his story would be – he’s still trying to determine whether he’d like to make it modern day or keep it in the 70’s time period of the show – he does know how he’d like the reboot to air.
“The way that we would want to do it is as a limited event series,” Whitta said. “You’d put it on Netflix, HBO, whatever … you wouldn’t do 22 episodes, because, again, the original Columbo was never that.” Whitta went on to cite the model of BBC’s Sherlock as a possible jumping off point for how the show would be formatted.
Watch the video above to hear Whitta discuss his dreams for the reboot, as well as his love of the original Columbo (starting at the 24-minute mark). Whitta will continue to appear on Kinda Funny’s The GameOverGreggy Show all week for the release of his debut novel Abomination.
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