Tim Story on Reviving the Shaft Franchise, Tom and Jerry, and Monopoly

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Over the past weekend, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema threw a junket for their upcoming action-comedy Shaft, which as you can gather from the title is indeed a reboot and a sequel to the 1971 and 2000 movies of the same name.

This time around, Samuel L. Jackson’s John Shaft and Richard Roundtree’s John Shaft are joined by Jessie T. Usher’s John Shaft, Jr, a far more PC version of his foul-mouthed detective father, who has to call upon Jackson’s Shaft to help him with a case. This version of Shaft is much more like a buddy comedy with Jackson and Usher trying to understand and work with the other.

shaft-samuel-l-jackson-jesse-t-usher-richard-roundtree

Image via Warner Bros.

I had a chance to speak to the film’s director Tim Story (Think Like a Man, Ride Along) over the weekend — sitting on a stoop on 119th Street, no less —  and we spoke about a number of things besides the return of Shaft.

Tim Story:

  • His first experiences seeing the original Richard Roundtree Shaft
  • How he first heard about the newest version of Shaft and what he thought he could bring to it
  • What eventually convinced him he’d be right for Shaft
  • The influences he got from John Singleton’s 2000 Shaft movie
  • Getting Jessie Usher to play the “son of Shaft” and how hard it was finding the right actor
  • What having stronger women characters like Regina Hall’s Maya brought to the “Shaftverse”
  • He talks about what he wants to bring to his Tom and Jerry movie, which is due out in 2021.
  • How he’s optimistic that the Monopoly movie he’s developing with Kevin Hart will happen.

Shaft hits theaters on June 14.

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