Evel Knievel lives! And he does so through Channing Tatum. Fresh off his Magic Mike buzz, Tatum has signed on to star in and produce a movie about the fearless stuntman for Columbia Pictures. Reid Carolin, who wrote Magic Mike (and is currently working on the stage adaptation), will write the screenplay, and Mike DeLuca and Dana Brunetti, who are pulling together Fifty Shades of Grey, will produce. One must assume that, unlike in the chaptastic, shirt-shredding Magic Mike, Tatum will keep his clothes — in this case, his star-spangled-banner jumpsuit — on during the majority of this film. Still, sounds like great news!
Mike's success (it's racked up $75 million at the box office) means that Tatum has all manner of high-profile projects to pick from. But it also means, or at least so it seems, that Tatum has decided to heed the lessons of the Quirky Project and continue seeking out weird films he can have a hand in crafting. It's not like Tatum's rejecting all tried-and-true routes: He is starring in a Die Hard–style White House invasion movie for Roland Emmerich. But an Evel Knievel movie, embracing the inherent ridiculousness of the legend — who attempted to jump tanks of live sharks and crashed as often as he landed — feels like a tricky, off-kilter endeavor to pull off. Will it be a comedy? A biopic? Just 90 minutes of Channing Tatum on a bike in slo-mo over fire pits? And how is it ever going to top the Andy Samberg daredevil classic Hot Rod? (Not joking on that last one.)
By the way, back in 1977, Evel Knievel himself starred in an Evel Knievel movie. Leslie Nielsen was the bad guy! It sounds amazing. Via Wikipedia: "The plot to his only motion picture as an actor, Viva Knievel!, centers around Evel foiling the attempts of drug lords smuggling narcotics into America from Mexico." Via the movie's trailer:
Some guy: "Hey, Millard wants to kill you!"
Some guy: "To take your body back to the United States as cover for about 50 million bucks worth of cocaine!"
Maybe Chan should just do a shot-for-shot remake of this?