Trying to bring Rick Rosner’s popular television series CHiPs, which aired on NBC from 1977 to 1983, to the big screen has been a huge endeavor over the past few years with many failed attempts with various configurations. Deadline is now reporting that Warner Bros. has hired actor and filmmaker Dax Shepard (Hit and Run) to write, direct and star in a new adaptation.
The show focused on two police officers who patrolled the Califonia highways on motorcycles with plans for Shepard to play the role of Officer Jon Baker (played on the show by Larry Wilcox) and actor Michael Pena attached to play Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, the role that made Erik Estrada famous.
Years ago, Warner Bros. attempted to bring the television show to the big screen with “That ’70s Show” star Wilmer Valderrama pitching himself in the role of the new “Ponch,” but with Warner Bros. failing to get hits out of their movies based on Starsky & Hutch (starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson) and The Dukes of Hazzard (starring Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott and Jessica Simpson), they started to shy away from vintage television as source material.
According to Deadline, the new direction taken by Shepard will be more in the vein of buddy cop movies like Bad Boys and Lethal Weapon rather than being a straight comedy.
In recent years, Shepard has appeared as part of the cast of the NBC television series “Parenthood,” but as irony would have it, he also appears in two of the three movies Warner Bros. is taking to the Toronto International Film Festival this week, This is Where I Leave You and The Judge.
He’s also a professional race car driver and motorcycle rider, having done most of his own stunts in his 2012 action-comedy Hit and Run, and he’s expected to do the same in his interpretation of CHiPs.