“The Night Stalker” is one of those “duh” ideas in television history, an idea that is such a natural that it almost seems like an inevitability. The story of Carl Kolchak, a newspaper reporter who finds himself involved in chasing down the supernatural, the show is a clear precursor of something like “The X-Files,” and even thought the series never quite lived up to the promise of the original TV movie, it was one of those shows that got lodged in the consciousness of anyone who saw it when it aired.
Johnny Depp is, of course, starring in this summer’s “Dark Shadows,” which seems to be taking the somewhat groundbreaking tactic of releasing a giant-budget Tim Burton film without a single poster or trailer. That’s about as cult a cult show as has ever existed, and stepping into the role that Jonathan Frid made creepy is going to be a very interesting role for Depp. After that, he’s headed out west to play Tonto opposite “The Lone Ranger.” So while he’s on this particular nostalgia kick, why not throw in Kolchak?
I’d be skeptical of this one simply because of how many people have borrowed from the basic idea, but they complicated things today because they added Edgar Wright into the mix, and that makes this suddenly irresistible to me. Edgar’s about due for a big franchise of his very own, and these days, Depp is about as bulletproof as anyone can be in commercial terms. You take Johnny Depp, add monsters, and then let Edgar shoot it, and that sounds to me like a recipe for awesome.
Edgar’s already in the Disney camp, still working on his version of “Ant-Man,” and while he’s done amazing work on “Scott Pilgrim,” “Hot Fuzz,” and “Shaun Of The Dead,” this is a business where the only real metric of success is the box-office, and a project like this could open the door for him to make any number of large-scale personal projects.
There’s no writer attached yet, which is a good thing. Depp, his partner Christi Dembrowski of Infinitum Nihil, and Wright will now find someone they can all work with to develop the script.
No word yet on when we can expect this one, and chances are it’ll take a while to cook up the exact right adventure for Kolchak’s return. It’s an intriguing talent package, though, and I’m curious to see what this becomes.