Inspector Morse fans have reacted with “utter disbelief” at plans to cast hard man US actor Vin Diesel in the title role in a Hollywood remake of the iconic Oxford detective stories.
Although the ‘reboot’ would still be filmed in Oxford, die-hard fans have expressed misgivings following rumours that the new Morse – made famous in the TV series by John Thaw – will be called Eddie, not Endeavour, will drink margaritas instead of real ale, and will drive a Mustang instead of a classic Jag.
His sidekick Sgt Robbie Lewis – played in the ITV show by Kevin Whately – could also be in for a major overhaul. Actress Mila Kunis is being lined up for the role of Sgt Roberta Lewis.
Even Morse’s creator has expressed huge misgivings.
Author Colin Dexter said: “Someone must have done this in a very underhand way – I made it quite clear to the people at ITV that I did not want any more versions done.
“I didn’t want it like Hercule Poirot where people argue about who was best and so on. I do not want that sort of comparison.”
The 84-year-old, who lives in East Oxford, said: “Whoever has done this won’t have my blessing, no matter how critically acclaimed it may be.”
Critical acclaim, however, is likely to be difficult to come by. Diesel, above, is best known for his role in the Fast & Furious action movie franchise, and industry experts think playing the cerebral Oxford detective may be too much of a stretch.
Dylan Geeke, of the entertainment website Rap/Follio.com, said: “For Vin to go from Fast & Furious to slow and meticulous could take a large suspension of disbelief.
“The word from the production company is that he’s struggling with the English accent, despite working with Dick Van Dyke’s former voice coach. Apparently they will make him a former Rhodes Scholar seconded from NYPD if he can’t nail it.”
And treasurer of the Morse Appreciation Society, Arnold Forbes, said: “Our members are in utter disbelief. This seems such ridiculous casting.
“I’ve even heard that this Mr Diesel intends for his character to listen to ‘gangster rap’ and play video games to wind down, rather than appreciate opera and solve crosswords.
“If you hear a rumbling noise, it won’t be thunder – it’ll be John Thaw turning in his grave.”