Seth MacFarlane Wants To Reboot 'The Naked Gun' With Liam Neeson
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During a new interview with People, Liam Neeson revealed that he's been "approached by Seth McFarlane and Paramount Studios to maybe resurrect the Naked Gun films." As a reminder, Neeson is best known for Schindler's List, a bunch of sad movies where he dies a lot, and a bunch of action movies where he kills a lot. Naked Gun, meanwhile, is a long-dead cop movie spoof franchise based on exploiting the silliest puns ever conceived by man.
Could Neeson fill the late Leslie Nielsen's deadly Swiss Army shoes? Keep in mind that Nielsen himself was a dramatic actor before Airplane! Turned his career around and made his name synonym with the spoof genre. Plus, said name has a lot of letters in common with "Liam Neeson," so that helps (probably). Neeson told People that he honestly didn't know if this would "finish (his) career or bring it in another direction," so it's possible that 10 years from now, we'll know him mainly as a wacky comedy guy and his career as a movie badass will be nothing but a historical footnote. Only his cameo in Life's Too Short will be remembered.
So, yeah, maybe Neeson can do it, but a better question is whether we should even have a Naked Gun movie reboot. Like with most reboots, the answer is probably "no," but we submit that if MacFarlane must revive this franchise, TV is a much better medium for this act of comedy necromancy. After all, Naked Gun originated from the tragically short-lived Police Squad! TV show, which had less action sequences than the movies but an even higher ratio of dialogue-based jokes per scene, as improbable as that might sound.
In a way, the Naked Gun movies were like Police Squad! episodes stretched out into 80 minutes, hence the recurring opening sequence or the running gags like Al, the tall cop whose head was always off-camera. If OJ Simpson (who played the accident-prone Detective Nordberg in the movies) has to be in the reboot due to contract obligations or whatever, we suggest recasting him into Al's part to avoid controversy.
Nielsen's character in these movies was arguably much better suited to an episodic format, where his obliviousness and lack of character progression weren't an issue -- the movies had to give him romantic plotlines to justify the running time, but they only worked up to a point. Police Squad! feels like it was cut way too short, while the Naked Gun movies perhaps went on too long, judging by their declining Rotten Tomatoes score. If one part of this multimedia franchise deserves another shot, it's not the movies or the British booze commercials but the TV show (although we wouldn't mind a follow-up to Nielsen's tie-in faux autobiographical novel detailing what he's been up to since his death).
Of course, the fact that MacFarlane wants to make this project doesn't mean it'll happen -- just look at his proposed Flintstones reboot, his plans for a licensed Star Trek show (which totally didn't become The Orville), or his intention to end Family Guy before it got stale. It's very possible that this idea will languish in development hell like many others. That, or we'll eventually see a Liam Neeson cop movie spoof called The Unclothed Pistol or something.
Top image: 20th Century Studios, Paramount Pictures