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Magnum P.I.: Coming to Big Screen, But Without Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I. on TV, not in the moviesTom 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! TV Series Finale home page

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

john flores September 29, 2007 at 1:32 pm

I recently paid a visit to the old estate, spending hours with my wife lounging on the beach behind the Magnum place. It’s still gorgeous, but starting to age quite a bit. Without Tom Selleck, I can say for sure the film won’t work.
McConaughy just does not have the acting ability, or the personal charm, of Selleck.


Bowie Hamilton September 25, 2007 at 8:30 am

Going to be horrible. So bad. If Tom Selleck and the rest of the crew can’t get the big screen, they should do a TV sequel movie. I would rather see the old cast on the big screen but if it won’t happen, I would love to see them on T.V. It wouldn’t have to be a cheap Dallas reunion. They could do some specials with some sequels and use the same writers. Synchronize it with the cheap new movie coming out and the T.V. version will be better without the budget of the movie. Magnum P.I. doesn’t need the big budget, it just needs the familiarity. Selleck can be an old guy wearing hawaiin shirts. There are plenty of those around who do fine. People would love it.


Rebecca J. Smith August 25, 2007 at 7:17 pm

No Tom Selleck,and the guy’s,count me out!! everyone gets older and so do you Mr. Thurber and It would be an inslut to us fans of the beloved Magnum p.i. I watch reruns everyday monday thru friday,over and over again, and (sorry Matt) but on alot of the shows in a funny or wreid scene Tom whould look right into the camera and give that funny little grin,it made us feel like he was looking right at us lol. you whould’nt be able to do it. this whould be a waste of money to not cast the same cast members,you’ll loose alot. TC,Rick and Higgins,Agatha were the best!! Tom Selleck is a great actor,I guess I’ve said enough Rebecca J. Smith


Tom July 28, 2007 at 4:39 pm

Part of Mangnum P.I.’s appeal drew from its format. The creators had to follow rules that don’t apply to T.V. today since there were only four channels to choose from when it debuted. The target demographic included the entire age spectrum, for instance. An updated Mangnum P.I. – even with the original members – would be cancelled after one season today. Fast-paced editing, exponentioally more channels, DVRs, Netfix, and very targeted demographics render Mangum’s once-groundbreaking format uncompetitive. And the much-celebrated chemistry between Selleck and Hillerman relied on this format for success. So I’m skeptical in this way only: it might be a good movie, but it most certaily won’t be the Magnum P.I. we have come know. I predict a marginal ROI at best for the investors.


linda July 17, 2007 at 9:13 am

I can’t believe that you do a Magumn P I without Tom Selleck. It won’t be the same. Count me OUT!!!!


perry duffy July 4, 2007 at 1:46 am

a magnum pi movie will fail,without selleck and hillerman, it cant work,and whoever put up the money for it should be committed…enough said


Raymond Anthony June 17, 2007 at 12:26 pm

as a fan of the 80s magnum
i do belive that a new generation magnum
should be a more fresh
one could get a unknown nephew
of thomas magnum who allso holds the magnum name since he is famliy he should fit thomas shoes well he will come in to takeover for thomas as pi since thomas is not getting any younger.
i allso feel that it would be
in its best not
do a remake of a once great tv series
but to take it to the next step as a movie
if you like.
to bring it to life
with a new cast new names and new stories that fit with the times that we are in. i allso add
the former cast could cameo
if they wanted.
so that it can be something
to look back proud at in another 20 years to 30 years without it harming the tv series that was great in it’s time.

sorry for any mistakes!!


Nick Kitt March 22, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Mr, Thurber
Don’t listen to mindless sceptics.There were no complexities and depth of characters. MAGNUM was simply a silly TV show with aspirations to be a hip ROCKFORD FILES which it failed at. It was,however, a fun little action series with light humor with fun characters all of whom would be wonderfully played by Matt McConaughey,Steve Zahn,and Bill Macy. You are making the right choice,Mr Thurber. They said no one could replace Sean Connery,but know everyone is talking about Daniel Craig. It is time for Tom Sellack to rest on his laurels. He had his chance at TV reunion movies and he passed. Go for it Mr Thurber. Matt and his crew deserve better after that stupid lawsuit brought on by Clive”the jive” Cussler and MAGNUM is the perfect thing !!!


kidney stone February 24, 2007 at 7:38 am

kidney stone


Anson P.I. February 15, 2007 at 7:11 pm

I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right…Thurber needs to honour the spirit of the original show or the movie will flop. Magnum P.I. is more than just a “title you know, a theme song you love and a kick-ass Ferrari”!?

The brilliance of the show was in the subtlety of the humour, the witty dialogue and the complexities and depth of the characters. Every episode had the perfect balance of action, adventure and drama with an occassional shot of campiness.

Thurber, When I finally get around to writing my book “How to write a movie about a world class private investigator” I will send you a copy. Have your people call my people, we’ll do lunch at the King Kamehameha Club.


Peter Costello February 8, 2007 at 1:04 pm

The on screen chemistry Hillerman and Magnum portrayed is the soul of Magnum PI. The movie might as well be a random title because the plot and storyline doesnt follow…


DANIEL W. ADAMS February 2, 2007 at 12:37 am

No original cast members??? Don’t bother!! You WILL Fail.


DANIEL W. ADAMS February 2, 2007 at 12:36 am

No original cast members??? Don’t bother!! You WILL Fail.


Craig Boyd January 27, 2007 at 4:57 pm

If the 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.” His movie will be a failure, he doesn’t get what Magnum PI means. The success was because of people – Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, and the rest of the cast – he could have driven a Ford Pinto, lived in Nebraska and worn only long pants and it would still have been good.


Nick Kitt January 24, 2007 at 7:39 pm

I,for one, think the new cast fit the concept of MAGNUM perfectly. With the future of Dirk Pitt movies a foregone conclusion thanks to the asinine lawsuit from Clive Cussler,it’s good to see these guys and their great chemistry gettting started in a new genre and MAGNUM is the perfect vehicle. Tom Selleck is too old and should stick to cable westerns and JESSE STONE tv films. Even Sean Connery got too old for James Bond and now everyone is thinking Daniel Craig. I know McConaughey and his crew can fit the bill because they can do action filled comedy like they did in the underrated SAHARA. McConaughey,Zahn,and Macy–brilliant casting !!!


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