With the reboot of the the Alex Cross detective thriller series, based on the novel franchise written by James Patterson, which stars Tyler Perry in the title role, I thought I'd revisit an old post, but with a twist this time.
Previously, we discussed film franchises in film history that centered around characters of African descent. Needless to say, the pickings were slim, because there just haven't been that many. You narrow it down to film franchises akin to Alex Cross - black action heroes, for all intents and purposes - and the selection list gets even shorter, with franchise films featuring Shaft, Virgil Tibbs, and Axel Foley being the most prominent and the most mentioned.
The question this time is to list potential film franchises based on the lives of characters of African descent, with novels being the source material, since Hollywood seems to be in love with novel adaptations lately - especially those in a series that have the potential to be film franchises, and hopefully box office triumphs.
I can immediately think of one missed opportunity: Walter Mosley's Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins series of detective novels. There was Devil In A Blue Dress which starred Denzel Washington - the first and only on-screen appearance of Rawlins, even though Mosley has featured the character in at least 10 novels.
And of course, Mosley has a few other titles that are part of a series that could get looks as well.
You'll recall the announcement last fall that a TV series based on Mosley's fictional African American private investigator Rawlins, was in the works for the NBC network; you'll also remember that NBC later passed on it.
As for the others... Mosley has a deal in place with HBO, for his Leonid McGill series - the New York City private investigator, starting with the first book in the series titled, The Long Fall.
When asked in an interview who his choice is for the starring role in the Leonid McGill series, guess who he named? Jeffrey Wright of course! Wouldn't that be awesome.
There was also the TNT network's ordering of a pilot for Mosley's Fearless Jones series of novels, with plans for an eventual TV series.
No news of movement on any of those yet.
There was a potential franchise with Rawlins for Denzel. And the film, directed by Carl Franklin, was actually very well received, and is still held in high regard today. It didn't do blockbuster box office, but the critics loved it.
So now I hand the mic over to you folks...
I already argued that the source material for the Alex Cross series is weak to begin with, and not worthy of big screen adaptations - without some serious additional work being done to beef up the story and characters. And I hope there isn't a sequel, even though they've announced one.
Let's give Hollywood some other ideas that they may be overlooking; throw your 2 cents in for novel franchises centered around the lives of black characters (anywhere in the world) that could potentially be block-buster film franchises.