He may not be Greek, but he is bald: that's presumably the logic behind Universal Picture's decision to reboot Kojak for the big screen with Vin Diesel in the title role.
Diesel, the dulcet-toned slaphead who takes the lead in the Fast and Furious series, is currently one of the studio's top commodities, so building a new vehicle for him before the tyres on the Fast franchise get as bald as their star looks a smart manoeuvre.
Kojak, the maverick Manhattan police superintendent who presided over a motley crew of cops, was immortalised on TV in the 70s by Telly Savalas, whose Greek ancestry found its way into multiple storylines. His catchphrase, "Who loves ya, baby?" is still fondly parroted; his habit of sucking on a Tootsie Pop lollipop while chatting over a corpse a little less so.
In 2005, the Kojak brand was briefly revisited by the USA Network cable channel with Ving Rhames in the lead. The writers of Universal's script are Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who successfully reinvented another action star, James Bond, before last month announcing that Skyfall would be the last 007 film with their involvement.
Diesel, 45, has two films out next year: Fast Six (which was filmed back-to-back with Fast Seven) and the latest volume in the Chronicles of Riddick saga, Dead Man Stalking.
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