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After originally planning a full reboot of the ’70s classic, New Line is reverting back to a familiar formula for the next installment of “Shaft,” while also leaving the door open for a new face to take over the franchise.

Sources tell Variety that Samuel L. Jackson is in negotiations to reprise his role of the titular character with “Survivor’s Remorse” star Jessie T. Usher in talks to play Jackson’s son in the film.

Tim Story is directing a script from “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris. New Line began developing a new “Shaft” in 2015 after acquiring the remake rights and setting up the latest version with producer John Davis.

MGM’s 1971 blaxploitation film was based on Ernest Tidyman’s novel and directed by Gordon Parks. John Shaft was portrayed by Richard Roundtree, who navigates mob neighborhoods in New York City to find a mobster’s missing daughter.

The film was a major success at the box office, pulling in $12 million on a $500,000 budget. Isaac Hayes’ “Theme From Shaft” won the Academy Award for original song. Parks and Roundtree also teamed on “Shaft’s Big Score” in 1972 and “Shaft in Africa” in 1973. “Shaft” was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2000.

Paramount’s 2000 reboot, starring Jackson as the nephew of John Shaft, was also successful, grossing $107 million worldwide.

Hollywood has been using this “passing the torch” method more frequently in its recent reboots as a way to give the veteran actor who created or revitalized a role an official sendoff while paving the way for a new star of the series. Some examples include “Creed,” “Blade Runner 2049,” and the “Die Hard” franchise, which is in pre-production on a film with Bruce Willis returning in the role of Det. John McClane, while a younger actor portrays the character in flashbacks, setting up future installments of the hit movie series.

Best known for his role in the Starz dramedy “Survivor’s Remorse,” Usher was also recently in Universal’s “Almost Christmas” and Fox’s “Independence Day: Resurgence.” He is repped by CAA and MGMT Entertainment.

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  1. The utter cool, urban sophistication of John Shaft–that 1971 film superior to the reboot–cast the character erotic and cold-blooded. “Blackploitation” survived in a different era. The so-called 2000 reboot with flashes of female nakedness only in the opening titles, and within the narrative, signalled “a new day” for both the character and filmmaking.

    Samuel L. Jackson seventeen years ago may have enjoyed the fun of wearing the fashion of Richard Roundtree’s 1971 interpretation, but Jackosn is older (the actor is, in fact, elderly) and bringing his son along suggests little, if anything, of Ernest Tidyman’s original intent or content of the Shaft character.

    No-sex-or-nudity-but-graphic-violence version of the Tidyman novel and the Gordon Park film leaves little in this Millineal era but pervasive language. Given the exploitation-possibilities in using the novel and/or referring to the 1971 film adaptation, what narrative “a sequel” to the 2000 version may offer seems enemic. (Racism and police brutality while carefully avoiding misogyny have become cliche.)

    The original film spawn two sequels–or a triptych–three years in a row but one reboot more than 20 years later. Perhaps the thinking is: “Shaft for their generation.” Maybe that would work with a REAL movie star, strong writing, imaginative direction. But the studio is not going to pay for any of that. Obviously.

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