It's the same old story. Boy finds girl. Boy loses girl. Girl finds boy. Boy forgets girl. Boy remembers girl. Girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day. Hollywood reboots the story of the boy and the girl, only with Ed Helms in the lead role.
That’s right. The Naked Gun is coming back to theaters, only Variety reports that Helms – co-star of NBC’s The Office and three Hangover films – is stepping into the iconic role of Frank Drebin, played famously by the late, great Leslie Nielsen.
To say that Helms has massive shoes to fill is an understatement. Nielsen was as dry as they come, and his brilliant comedic timing elevated the Naked Gun series for multiple movies in the early 1990s. The films were born from the short-lived Police Squad! television series, which only lasted six episodes. But the movies live on, quoted incessantly by a movie-geek community who adores stuffed beavers and O.J. Simpson (you know, before all of his criminal activities). If you haven’t seen any of the Naked Gun movies, enjoy these hilarious highlights.
Can Helms fit that mold? If you held a Naked Gun to my head and demanded I pick a successor to Nielsen, I’d actually lean to Helms’ Office co-star, Steve Carell. But Helms has the chance to shape the role into something that fits his comedic sensibilities. He has good timing. I’m just not sure anyone has Nielsen’s crackerjack approach to a punchline.
Paramount is making moves behind the scenes to get The Naked Gun loaded and ready. The studio has hired Night at the Museum and Reno 911! screenwriters Thomas Lennon and R. Ben Garant for the Naked Gun reboot. They are being tasked with finding a new angle into Drebin’s character, which likely is a wise idea.
Helms, meanwhile, is coming off a small part in We’re the Millers, and can next be seen as part of Will Ferrell’s Anchorman sequel. He has a Sundance movie called The Came Together with Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, as well. I wonder if the Naked Gun story means that Helms is off the Vacation reboot that also has been bandied about? We’ll continue to track all of these projects as they move forward.