Tom Selleck starred as the sexy and Hawaiian shirt-wearing private investigator Thomas Magnum for eight seasons on CBS. The Hawaii-based action adventure series Magnum P.I. ran for 157 episodes from 1980 – 1988 and also starred actors John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley and Larry Manetti. Like many other popular classic shows, the series has been rumored to get “the big screen treatment” for years but now it looks like it may finally happen.
It’s being reported that Rawson Marshall Thurber (director and writer of Dodgeball and the upcoming The Mysteries of Pittsburgh) has completed a redraft of a Magnum script. Thurber was signed to write and direct the project in early 2006.
In addition, much of the film’s main cast has already been chosen — with new actors in the familiar roles. For now, the word is that Matthew McConaughey will play Thomas Magnum, with Tyrese Gibson as chopper flying T.C. Calvin, Steve Zahn as friend Rick Wright, and William H. Macy as the uptight Jonathan Higgins.
No word yet on the script particulars but the film will take place in the modern day. This time, Magnum, T.C. and Rick will be war buddies from the Iraq War instead of Vietnam. Last year, Thurber said that he envisioned that, like the series, the film would be an action-oriented with humorous elements. He also said the Hawaii-based story would depict the time before Magnum became a private investigator — sort of a “Magnum Begins” storyline.
Unfortunately for fans of the TV series, it doesn’t look like the original castmembers will have any part in the project. Back in May 2006, while on a press tour for a Jesse Stone TV movie, Tom Selleck said of the Magnum pic, “I won’t be in it and I won’t be doing some stupid cameo.” (Selleck supposedly has been offered Magnum TV films in the past but had rejected them in hopes that a big-screen reunion would be forthcoming.)
It doesn’t sound like Selleck will be missed from the new version. Director/Writer Thurber has said, “My guiding principles for the adaptation are these: no short shorts, no cameos, no moustaches. It’s a title you know, a theme song you love and a kick-ass Ferrari.”
Personally, I’ll reserve judgement until I see it but I don’t think the show has had such enduring popularity because of the title, theme song and the car. Hopefully this TV show adaptation will be better made than other recent attempts (Bewitched, Dukes of Hazzard, Fat Albert, etc.). I’ll keep you posted on new details as they become available so stay tuned… and aloha!