EXCLUSIVE: Disney and Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil are teaming up on two new projects: a feature version of the '70s TV movie The Night Stalker, and a drama about the Midnight Ride made by Paul Revere to warn Colonial militia of the impending British invasion. Depp is the potential star of both films, and he and his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski will produce.
Like many, Dembrowski and Depp had fond memories of the ABC telepic and series The Night Stalker, and they got Disney's Rich Ross and Sean Bailey sparked on a pitch for Depp to potentially play tabloid reporter Carl Kolchak. Originated by Darren McGavin, Kolchak was the dogged journalist first seen in the 1972 telepic (where he hunted a killer who was draining the blood of beautiful girls on the Las Vegas strip) and later in the ABC series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Kolchak's investigations always seemed to lead him to the doorstep of vampires, zombies, werewolves and aliens. For its time, it was pretty scary stuff. The studio will go out to writers shortly. David Kennedy will be exec producer...
Disney and Depp remaking THE NIGHT STALKER seems like a good fit. I saw the original television movie when I was 5 years old and let me tell you Carl Kolchak was one of my childhood heroes, way before I became a frothing at the mouth Whovian. I loved every episode of the series, now matter how cheesy, I loved the humor and the scares. In fact I still do.
I think a THE NIGHT STALKER remake could be terrific, a good does of PG/PG-13 scares just like the original. But the writers and producers will have to avoid the mistakes that were made by the failed NIGHT STALKER remake TV series of a few years ago;
1.) Carl Kolchak is not a badass. He is clever, tenacious and has the kind of bravery of a man with his back against the wall. He's a clumsier Fox Mulder or a more exasperating Frank Black. He gets the job done but nearly pees his pants every second of the way. Carl Kolchak is just like us.
2.) Any NIGHT STALKER film should have witty dialogue. Carl Kolchak should be funny, the kind of verbal slapstick you found in the dialogue of the original GHOSTBUSTERS film. Kolchak gets in arguments with everyone because he knows he's right, those arguments should be hysterical.
Then again I am a forty year old unpublished writer, what the Hell do I know?