“Only Fools and Horses”, the British sitcom which has been named the greatest comedy of all time on numerous occasions on these shores is being remade for American audiences by ABC.
A Brit hit translation for US screens is not uncommon of course, with Ricky Gervais’ The Office being the most recent big success to be transferred stateside and to huge success at NBC.
When a U.S. Only Fools was first announced many British fans instantly expected this to fail, with even Del Boy himself David Jason being skeptical of the possibility of it being anything other than a failure. Early judgement was to be expected, but as news snippets and details of casting come out, are there signs that this ‘horse’ may have legs?
First up was the announcement that John Leguizamo would be playing Del Boy…
The character actor is best known for roles in Baz Luhrmann’s movies Moulin Rouge, Romeo & Juliet, for voicing Sid in the Ice Age movies and for playing everyone’s favourite second fiddle Luigi Mario in the Super Mario Bros Movie. At 48 years old he is significantly older then Jason was when he took the role.
Dustin Ybarra, whose credits include We Bought a Zoo and the upcoming Gay Dude was shortly after announced to play Del’s younger brother Rodney.
His casting at least demonstrated that they are keeping the big age gap between the two brothers intact. Now whilst Ybarra may be somewhat unproven to many (and has somewhat crazy hair!), and Leguizamo has racked up several comedic if not show stealing roles it is the announcement of the casting of Grandad which holds most promise.
Whilst Leonard Pearce played the Trotter’s grandfather in the UK version, his Americanised version is to be taken on by Christopher Lloyd, most famously remembered as the legendary Doc Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy.
With a CV of eccentric roles also including Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and previous sitcom experience which includes Taxi he should fit into the role with ease. Of course the role of Grandad was mainly supporting to Del and Rodney in the classic series, but it is expected that there will be many changes to prevent the very British show from being lost in translation.
BJ Bales, best known for appearances in Not Another Not Another movie and very little else has been cast as Trigger, the role originated by Roger Lloyd Pack.
In the US take on the series it would seem Trigger is being reinvented as a conman and the Trotter’s rivals. This probably came about from the name Trigger lending itself to a more dangerous character, but is a change which is certain to displease some purists who love the dim-witted incarnation of the character.
It’s unknown if a version of Uncle Albert, a character that filled the gap of Grandad after Leonard Pearce’s death will be introduced. Because of the circumstances of the character’s creation both Grandad and Uncle Albert were never seen on screen together in the UK show. Let’s hope we are able to hear his famous phrase “During the war” on the new show.
ABC ordered to pilot a US remake concept devised by Scrubs writers Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley that will go before cameras this Spring. The show will once again follow “the misadventures of two streetwise brothers and their aging grandfather as they concoct outrageous, morally questionable get-rich-quick schemes in a bid to become millionaires.”