*A bit of background on writer David F. Walker in case you’re not familiar with his work. Walker is a journalist, filmmaker, educator, author, and some would call him an authority on Blaxploitation films. His publication “BadAzz MoFo” became internationally known as the premiere resource for black films of the 1970’s. He is also co-author of the book “Reflections on Blaxploitation: Actors and Directors Speak.”
Walker has been a writer of comic books for years, but only recently started to gain attention thanks to his critically acclaimed writing of “Shaft” for Dynamite Comics, Indiewire reports. Walker’s version of “Shaft” mirrored the rough, street smart character that originated in Ernest Tidyman’s series of novels. Walker also wrote this year’s “Shaft’s Revenge,” which is the first official Shaft novel authorized by Tidyman’s estate since the 1970s.
When news surfaced about New Line’s comedic reboot of “Shaft,” penned by “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris, fans reached out to Walker to get his opinion about it. He responded by publishing an “open letter” to New Line on his BadAzz MoFo website, saying the studio’s primary motivation for flipping the script is money. Below is part of Walker’s response:
Dear New Line Cinema (and producer John Davis),
Let me start by saying that I never expected anyone to get in touch with me about the new Shaft movie. Likewise, I don’t have any interest in getting involved with anyone who doesn’t understand or respect Ernest Tidyman’s character, so even if anyone involved in the new movie got in touch with me, it probably wouldn’t go well. As it is, with the recent announcement that the creator of Black-ish has been hired, and that a comedic approach is going to be taken, it is clear to me that New Line is more interested in shitting the bed, than making a good Shaft movie.
Tell us how you really feel, David!
It is clear to me that you have no real concept of the John Shaft character, or why he and all the other black action heroes that emerged in the 1970s were so important to so many people—myself included. This new movie, if it goes the way it is headed, will be terrible, and I will do everything in my power to see it fail, because you deserve no less than that for taking something beloved by so many, and making it something it was never meant to be.
You can read the full letter here.