News of a Welcome Back, Kotter remake first made waves back in March of 2006. Tom Grady was tapped to write and direct, and Ice Cube was cast to take over the role that Gabe Kaplan made famous -- Mr. Kotter, the man who went back to his high school alma mater to teach some challenging remedial students. Kotter also happened to be the show that helped make John Travolta (Vinnie Barbarino) famous -- before Saturday Night Fever or Grease came around. Although it has been a few years since the project started to cook up, Ice Cube recently talked with MTV about the pic, and what is planned for this new version... that is, if the strike wraps up and this feature gets out of development hell.

This remake will go urban, and Cube says: "We've got the same characters, they're just re-vamped to suit the times, totally different. It's like, flipped. With me playing Kotter, how couldn't it be?" This also means none of Kaplan's schtick: "No, I won't be going that far. You know me, I'm gonna flip it. It ain't gonna be no Gabe Kaplan sh-t." What will be the same? Who knows. He also says there's no Barbarino dance, or Epstein's phony letters. "The names are the same" seems to be Cube's mantra for this picture.

Considering the fact that he says it's "more of a Fast Times at Ridgemont High, not so much 'Up your nose with a rubber hose,'" I have to ask: what's the point? WHY keep the names if you're taking all of the things that make each character who they are and change them. I'm sorry, but people don't go see remakes just for the same names. I can't help but wonder why they couldn't use new names, maybe consider it a spin-off, or just giving a "based on" credit. Trying to bank on the fandom of a show doesn't work if you start off by saying that the only thing that remains the same is the basic premise and a handful of names.
categories Cinematical