EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has set David Levien and Brian Koppelman to write The Rockford Files, a feature adaptation of the memorable series that ran on NBC from 1974-80 and featured James Garner as the down-and-out private eye. The studio will develop the film as a star vehicle for Vince Vaughn to play Rockford, and Vaughn and Victoria Vaughn will produce through their Universal-based Wild West Picture Show Productions banner.
In the original series created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell, Rockford was a private eye who’d spent a few years in San Quentin before being pardoned. He worked and lived out of a mobile home near the beach in Malibu, and unlike most of his TV detective peers, he dressed disheveled, and mostly used his charm and guile to talk his way out of trouble, instead of shooting. Vaughn certainly has that verbal dexterity. Universal’s sister network NBC has been trying to relaunch The Rockford Files as a TV series but put the brakes on it last year.
Vaughn just signed to re-team with his Wedding Crashers co-star Owen Wilson in the Fox comedy The Internship, and will next be seen alongside Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill in the Fox comedy Neighborhood Watch and the Stephen Frears-directed Lay The Favorite. As for Koppelman and Levien, their script Runner Runner was just greenlighted by New Regency with Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck starring for Lincoln Lawyer helmer Brad Furman. Vaughn and the scribes are repped by CAA. The scribes were lawyered by Karl Austen, who closed the deal for the estate of Huggins, creator of the Rockford character.