The Tim Story-directed SHAFT (REBOOT) announced earlier in the year has begun to clarify exactly what that movie will be. Apparently, the New Line “reboot” will actually have direct connections both to the 1971 Gordon Parks movie starring Richard Roundtree AND the 2000 John Singleton-directed Shaft, starring Samuel L. Jackson.
The Tracking Board has confirmed that Story has chosen Jessie Usher from Independence Day: Resurgence to play the title role of what’s now being called Son of Shaft. Usher will indeed be playing the son of detective John Shaft, the name of the character portrayed both by Roundtree and Jackson in their respective Shaft films.
Produced by John Davis of Davis Entertainment and black-ish creator Kenya Barris, who also wrote the script, they’ve been looking for the right actor to play the title role for months before landing on Usher. The plans are to start production on the film this fall.
What’s interesting about the latest news for this project is that actor Samuel L. Jackson, who played Roundtree’s nephew in the 2000 movie distributed by Paramount, is also in talks to reprise his role from that movie, which grossed over $100 million worldwide.
If that wasn’t enough connection to the previous two movies, there are also rumors the now 75 year-old Roundtree will also be returning for a movie that now seems more like a sequel than a remake or reboot.
Usher’s character will be an FBI agent, specializing in cyber attacks, who has been estranged from his detective father, but finds himself having to team up with his Luddite dad for an assignment he can’t solve alone.
Usher previously played the son of Will Smith’s Independence Day character in Roland Emmerich’s 2016 sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence. Son of Shaft treads on similar long-overdue sequel status as that film, combined with what Ryan Coogler did with the 2015 Rocky spin-off, Creed. (That movie was also produced and distributed by New Line.)
Samuel L. Jackson, meanwhile, can be seen in this week’s action-comedy, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, with Ryan Reynolds, which is looking to end up with somewhere close to $20 million this weekend.
Usher is represented by CAA and MGMT Entertainment, while Jackson is with ICM Partners, Anonymous Content, Stone Manners Salsners Agency and Patrick McMinn Management. UTA reps director Tim Story while Barris is with CAA and Principato-Young Entertainment.
Deadline previous reported on the casting news.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor