Monday, May 26, 2008

May 26, 2008 -- Draft letter to Brian Grazer (in charge of Magnum, P.I., movie)

(Can't believe GI Joe has hands that can't salute . . . . . at least, I tried).

I post this today for golfmobile as her effort to honor veterans with an extra tip to Vietnam (for Thomas Magnum, Rick Wright, and Theodore Calvin) and to the Iraq/Afghanistan soldiers, our current heroes.

Here is the first draft of my letter to Mr. Grazer. Please feel free to leave a comment regarding edits, additions, or if you want your name added to the signatories:

May 27, 2008

Via email ( and First Class Mail

Mr. Brian Grazer
Imagine Entertainment
9465 Wilshire Blvd., Seventh Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Re: Magnum, P.I., Movie

Dear Mr. Grazer:

I do not know if you are aware of how many Magnum, P.I., fans there are in the world and how they feel about the potential of a Magnum, P.I. (“MPI”) movie. I cannot presume to speak for all of them, but I am writing to you on behalf of quite a few of the 250 MPI fans who congregate at and discuss everything MPI-related – the characters, the episodes, the guest stars, the plots, the characters, the sets, the scenery, and many, many other topics. You will hardly find a group more knowledgeable about the show, with particular emphasis on the founder of the website, James J. Walters, and many forum members with nearly limitless knowledge about the show -- only a small sampling of the many there: IslandHopper (who is an expert at finding inconsistencies and continuity flubs), Doc Ibold, rubber chicken (who is amazing with his ability to find filming locations on Google Earth), N1095A, SelleckLover, Kahunagirl, Miss Q, Carol the Dabbler, IKWYT, eeyore, eegorr, Shermy, grapeshot, Miss Q, and many, many others.

We have discussed the MPI movie and kicked around numerous ideas – and hopes. The one thing that we all agree on, as do several other online sites that discuss the movie, including an online petition with over 2,300 virtual signatures, is that the original cast must be in the movie, at least as much as they are available (we understand that John Hillerman is not available). As a sample of what we have opined:

From Vanity, in France:

I simply do not see any reason why there should be a movie called Magnum PI, IF it is out of place, out of time and out of core essentials. MPI is a state of mind, the original cast undoubtedly contributed to it. The set, the Ferrari (not any Ferrari), Robin's Nest, the chopper (not any other one).... remove any of these elements, remove the original guys behind the scene who created the stories, and all you'll end up with, in my opinion, just an average movie. But MPI was not just a TV series, and that's what makes it so special. So just a movie is just not good enough either. I'll skip.

From Carol the Dabbler, in Indiana:

I agree with Vanity -- Magnum was a state of mind -- a "happening."

From Icepick:

The thought of this movie not being what we know it should be makes me feel sick to my stomach and it's something I try to avoid thinking about. I can't for the life of me imagine what intolerable pain it's going to be around the time this movie comes out. Part of me will want to see it for the simple fact it's Magnum oriented, which normally we would be clambering to see, but on the other hand it's not the MPI we know and love and we will just point out and observe every little mistake and nuance that doesn't fit. I think it could be aggravating.

From lutherhgillis:

The MPI series was as much about the people who played the characters as about the characters. Without the people, there is no show.

From Tiger308

In NO way should a movie be attempted without the original cast. Period. There is tremendous potential for a very good film or TV movie, with a lot of references to all the details from the series, but without the original guys it would be a worthless joke.


No one can play Magnum but Selleck!! NOBODY!!

I just can't see anybody else in the Magnum role.

Even a well done Magnum PI movie trying to recreate a portion of the 8 years on Hawaii as a PI, already covered by the show, will miss the mark. If they try to make it too funny, we would wind up with another Dukes of Hazzard movie debacle. The show itself was just too complex to lend itself to a single good movie. That leads to my real fear about the movie. It seems like Hollywood doesn't get what made Magnum PI popular. There a high probability that even a serious take on the show will miss. It wasn't a Hunk show, it wasn't really even a detective/crime show. It wasn't about the car. Hollywood didn't get Magnum at the time (see all the copies- Matt Houston, Knight Rider--that lacked the depth and complexity of the show). I don't think there much chance they'll figure it out now.

I think the main audience for a Magnum P.I. movie would still prefer to see Selleck back in the role. Otherwise, it would really just be another action/comedy using the Magnum name.

The only difference between Magnum and other recent TV films is that Selleck truly made the character his own. Shows like Starsky and Hutch, Charlie's Angels, Miami Vice, etc., didn't really feature characters that could only be played by a certain actor. For example, the most distinctive aspect of Miami Vice was not the actors, but the sense of style it conveyed. In this respect, it's almost similar to Shatner as Kirk, Stallone as Rocky, or Ford as Indy. In such cases, the actors are so heavily identified with the roles that audiences really don't care how old the actors are.

Plus, one problem with a modern update is that it robs the character of a very essential ingredient: Vietnam. It wasn't just war, but being forced to go to war that led Magnum into a state of arrested adolescence. Yet today, it's not that uncommon to see a carefree, unmarried guy in his thirties who still enjoys childish pursuits (such as videogames, etc.). So they not only need to worry about finding the right actor, but also updating the character so that it contains the same amount of depth.

Without Tom Selleck and the rest of the gang, there is no Magnum P.I. Tom Selleck IS Magnum.
Such a great show. It really is an amalgam of the cast, the characters, the location, the time it was made all coming together with such synergy.


As far as I know, Tom has only stated that he wouldn't do one of those silly walk-on cameos that some stars do when they turn their series into a movie. He seems to still be leaving the door open that he is available if the producers would come to their senses and go with the original cast. The fans have stated over and over that is what they want and he is correct in stating they will be upset with anyone other than him as Thomas Magnum.

As for what SHOULD be in the movie, in addition to the original cast members who are still available:

The Eve Anderson Estate as Robin's Nest Main House & Guest House indoor sets that match the original show The Ferrari 308 GTS The Hughes 500D Chopper The King Kamehameha Club (w/ Beach Bar) The Team Ring The "iconic" theme song Robin Masters (voice only) Include some of the major recurring characters (Carol, Tanaka, etc.) The Minor Ones (which I'd love to see): Everything Walt said, plus ... The rubber chicken The masks The ‘stache Magnum's sax River Kwai Bridge model The Vanagon, the Jimmy, the Audi Recreate some of the famous shots from the show (the look back, the snorkel shot, etc.)

Zeus & Apollo aka The Lads.

Will Magnum look at the camera?

The Hawaiian shirts. Would love to see his great red parrot one again.

I'd be just as happy to see this as a *well-made* TV movie as in the theater. The series was perfectly scaled for television, and I fear that attempts to "enlarge" it for a theatrical movie might do serious damage to its charm. In fact, if “they” insist on doing a so-called Magnum movie w/o Our Guys, then once it bombs, maybe they will come to their collective senses and do a real Magnum TV movie. They would obviously have to do justice to the project in order to talk TS into it.

And now for a couple of plot ideas for the movie with the original stars brought up to date:

TS returned to VA after Rick's wedding. Frank has died and he lives with his Mother so Lily can be raised around family and he took a desk job, so he would no longer be involved in danger, putting Lily at risk of being orphaned. Lily has finished college and she and TS, who has just retired, return to Hawaii for the first time since they left. Robin Masters has passed away and left the estate to his half-brother, Jonathan Quayle Higgins. Magnum finds the place abandoned and run down, much as it appears today. Higgins is not there; he has disappeared. TS walks around for the first time and has flashbacks of old times on the estate (flashbacks from old shows). In the process of trying to find Higgins, he discovers Higgins and Robin are half brothers. Thus explaining why he thought Higgins was Robin. A subplot with Lily, she is being stalked and TS fears it has something to do with the people who murdered Michelle. I don't know why Higgins has disappeared but it will be serious, complicated and dangerous. I haven't got many details yet, but it would end up with Higgins found, TS and Lily and his mother moving onto the estate, and TS killing the person stalking Lily who turns out just to be a crazy guy. Maybe Higgins and Catherine become involved? Maybe Karen Teal comes back into TS’ life (she was my favorite most believable romantic interest), maybe Lily hooks up with Rick and Cleo's son? As the show ends TS walk by a pet store and two tiny Dobie pups in the window catch his eye. You just know they are going home with him.

Or to add a few more details: Higgins has inherited the estate when Robin Masters died, but then HIGGINS dies (I think it's pretty much of a "given" that John Hillerman doesn't want to do any more acting, so we must respect his wishes and leave him out of the cast) and HE leaves the estate to Thomas upon his death. When Thomas comes over, with Lily, he starts investigating Higgins' death and determines that Higgins was murdered, so he has to solve that murder. He brings in TC and Rick to help him, as he usually does. With Higgins dead, it would make for a perfect reason for lots of flashbacks of him from the show, with different scenes of his interacting in the original show with all the other three regulars from MPI (and even Lily!). So maybe we can have Josh Duhamel as Rick's son, James Lesure as TC's son, and the girl who plays Piper on Las Vegas as Lily (gotta respect those dimples!), and they do a lot of the legwork and mystery solving, with advice and support from the older guys. Maybe we could make a little twist that Rick's son is the helicopter pilot from military service and TC's son is the weapons specialist. They both fall in love with Lily (not seriously, but the way Rick always fell in love with every pretty woman he ever met on the show -- this could even be mentioned), so we appeal to the younger generation for a little light-hearted romantic comedy inserted in the plot -- so we have the usual MPI plot of humor and action. But then at the end, light-heartedly, Lily's REAL fiance shows up (who can we cast here?? Steve Carell as his usual nerdy self for some more humor, but then he does something really smart and clever and wins everyone over so you see why Lily loves him) and the two "sons" fly off into the sunset looking for more adventure as the old fogey fathers exchange looks and just shake their heads.

However, you do it, the true consensus of the public who are interested in seeing the movie is that the original actors have to play the roles. The recent success of the new Indiana Jones movie shows that age is NOT a factor in the desire to see the original characters together again. And check the sales of the DVDs of the TV show. Also check the ratings for the “Las Vegas” episode with the “mini-MPI” re-union with Larry Manetti and Roger Mosley guest-starring as A.J. Cooper’s long-time friends. Everyone wants to see Thomas, Rick, and T.C. together again; we don’t care how old they are. We all really want Higgins too, but we also understand that may not be possible. We think three of the main characters WOULD be available for the “right” project. Can’t you please make the right project for the public?

Signed (listed in no particular order),

[signatures omitted until finalized)

1 comment:

Kimbosan said...

Hi, I agree with your words and in fact I recently wrote to Larry M saying I would seriously like to talk to him about a return series, I have a syndicate here in Australia that is prepared to fund a return series of 13 eps....scenario would be ...after the time of passage 20 years where would MPI be now, would Rick still be managing a club would TC still be flying etc, we have developed 20 scripts along those lines I think it would be a great success.... I have to say I am way over CSI, NYPD, Numbers and every other possible police and forensic show on TV the best type of TV is one that people can relate to just look at how many people hit the various MPI web sites.... I think that MPI could live on… I think the public are way over Death and are looking at the renaissance of shows like MPI.