Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is ready to swing the two-by-four in the MGM/Hyde Park remake of “Walking Tall,” a film that will likely go into production in early summer.
The Rock has sparked to David Klass’s script and his participation is subject to the studio signing him quickly. A deal is expected to be made quickly and a director hired right away. The remake originated with former Hyde Park partners Ashok Amritraj and David Hoberman, now of Mandeville Films. That duo will produce under their respective banners, and Lucas Foster, Keith Samples and Jim Burke are also producers.
The 1973 film’s premise of a Southern sheriff’s mission to remove corruption from his county has been contemporized. In the new version, The Rock’s character returns home from serving his country and finds his small town infected by drugs, violence and general menace. Like the original character of Buford Pusser, who was played by Joe Don Baker, the protagonist still settles disputes with the very persuasive assist of a well-swung two-by-four. MGM execs Toby Jaffe and Eric Paquette are supervising development.
MGM’s courtship of the Rock will have to be quick if the studio wants to tie up his next slot. The Rock followed “The Scorpion King” with the Peter Berg-directed “Helldorado” for Universal, and studios all over town are developing vehicles for him, including U’s “Spy Hunter,” “Johnny Bravo” at Warner Bros., “Walk Like a Dragon” at Paramount, and “Skip Tracer” and “King Kamehameha” at Sony. The Rock is repped by UTA and Original.