Where's The Magnum P.I. Movie? (a.k.a. I'm way too mad about this)

Complaining about franchise reboots is an old person's pursuit. Like shuffleboard. Or the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Network. Both things I love very much.

Therefore, because I am an old, I will now share my feelings.

Feelings about how they could successfully make a Magnum P.I. movie. And rules. I think you'll agree with most of them. But first, a caveat. Because I may be an old, but I'm also a smart. Allow me to prove I'm not beginning with a bias.

I’ve learned my lesson about decrying remakes on principle. Star Trek schooled me on that, six times in the theater alone.

Let's get to the point:

I will not abide a reboot of Magnum P.I., whether it be for film or television. Sequel? Sure. Continuation? You bet. Reboot? That's a big fat nope.

There've been rumblings of a Magnum movie for years. The rumors are always the same. No Tom Selleck. It was Nicolas Cage for a while. Word on the street is Matthew McConaughey has the rights now.

No matter who's attached, I believe there are five rules that should be followed when it comes to movies based on TV shows. Especially as time marches on and the gap grows between those of us who remember Magnum P.I. as a contemporary show and people who only know it as a pop culture reference.

But some of us love Magnum P.I. unironically, thankyouverymuch.

How much? This much:

Anyway, here are my rules…

1.) Don’t reboot a series when the original cast is still willing, ready, and able to do the movie. Unfortunately, not all the members of the original cast of Star Trek are still with us. And by us, I mean the living. Thus, Next Gen was born.

But with Magnum P.I., the gang's all here.* Not only should they NOT recast it, they should stop wasting time letting it linger in development hell and make the movie while they still have the chance. LET PEOPLE BE OLD. It's fine. 

At the very least, introduce a new cast alongside the former, a la Star Trek: Generations. (And now I promise to stop talking about Star Trek.)

Behold, the sweat of legends.

2.) Don’t make a joke out of it.
That’s not to say the movie can’t be funny. The show was funny. But let’s not give it the Ben Stiller, bad wig treatment. Just pick up with Magnum wherever you think he would be at this point in his life and go forward.

3.) The only TV shows that make funny parody movies are the ones that were intentionally cheesy in the first place. There's a fine line between homage and parody. Magnum P.I. may be stylistically dated, but so were The Golden Girls and we certainly pay them the proper respect.

4.) Don’t make the entire movie about age though. Yes, Thomas Magnum is older. But if we’ve learned anything from Harrison Ford, it’s that you’re never too old to get back into the action. Acknowledge the age. Don't dwell on it.

5.) No new kid. No secret son of Magnum. No young pup needing to be trained in the ways of mystery-solving. Just let Magnum be the star. (Though I guess the last episode of the show did set up a daughter scenario. She'd be in her twenties now…so, pardon me while I prepare my headshot.)

It's hardly novel, but here’s what I would do if I were in charge:

Pick up with Magnum in Hawaii now. He’s returned after serving in the military again, working for intelligence. He's now re-retired. The first shot could be him stepping foot on the island.

Higgins inherited the estate from Robin Masters, and has allowed Magnum to move back into the pool house. Maybe Higgins has taken up writing like his old boss. Perhaps he has written a series of mysteries based not so loosely on Magnum’s life.

Every day, he gets the paper and nonchalantly scans it to see what's the haps on the local crime scene. But really, there’s not much to do beyond petty crime and tourist scams. Naturally, he longs for the glory days. He's bored.

Anyway, something big goes down on the island, Magnum is the only one who can help and the fun continues. Yeah, I know it's vague, but I'm just delusional enough to think I need to protect my idea. Writing a Magnum script would be a literal dream come true.

I’m just baffled that the suits are wasting all this time on such a financially viable property. They’re remaking EVERYTHING. Pardon me while I petty for a second. I know I'm not the arbiter of such things, but...so many properties are getting a second chance at getting a new chance at life, especially things that either:

a.) don’t need one (Footloose, Fright Night) or

b.) don’t deserve one (Melrose Place, 90210)

Yeah, I said it. Yes, I liked the new Fright Night. But I don't think it compromises my point.

That's not to mention the fact that so many remakes right now are straight from the 80's, a la G.I. Joe. The time is ripe. But nobody is going to let Tom Selleck do a legitimate Magnum movie? Come on.

It’s like the only way they know how to get things done anymore is to come up with all the worst ideas first and work backwards from there until time runs out and the window of opportunity is closed forever. (Sorry, I'm extra cranky with the Hollywood machine right now considering what's going on with Conan O'Brien.)

Possible directors?

1. Jon Favreau, for his ability to mix action with comedy. But would he do it? Can’t say.

2. Frank Oz handles quirky quite well, but again…not so sure he’d sign on considering his long, rich history with original scripts.

3. Ivan Reitman is familiar with the sensibilities of the originating time period.

4. Anybody know if Ron Underwood is still available?

5. David Gordon Green also has the chops to handle the action/comedy without making it a caricature that will look embarrassing in a decade or so. (Sorry Rush Hour, but you aged very very quickly.)

At this point…I’d happily take a TV movie if it was done by the right people. Not every movie has to be directed for wide audience appeal. Focus on the original fans. Forget about making it a wacky wig* summer tentpole. Maybe it would even be safer that way, fewer people to answer to and easier to stay true to the series.

Secure the original Magnum house. Film in Hawaii. While you’re there make friends with the LOST crew as they film their last season.

It could work. It could genuinely work. So whoever's responsible for the hold-up, knock it off!

*I wrote this eight years ago...rest in peace John Hillerman.
*Man...apparently, I really have a vendetta against wigs.


  1. No Selleck.......No Magum!!!

  2. I couldn't agree with you more...make this movie happen NOW & with the original cast! This still has to be my favorite show, even though it has aged a bit. I'll still pull out the DVD's to watch an episode now & then. I've gone through several scenarios/screenplays in my head as to where everyone would be in life right now. I even thought of a way to bring Magnum back to Hawaii would be that Robin died, but there's a mystery surrounding his death. I also like the idea of bringing Magnum's daughter into it. I also wouldn't mind seeing this made for the small screen (tv) as maybe a three or four night mini-series. For the PTB, let's make this happen with the orig cast...that's what the people want!

  3. I agree. No Selleck,,,,No Magum.

    I also like the idea of a small screen mini series. That would be awesome too!

    Big screen, small screen, either way would be great with the original cast.
    Hillerman is the only one that I haven't heard about, as to if he is able or wants to, but with Selleck, Manetti and Mosley, it's totally doable!!!

    All of this news about new actors = LAME!!!!

    .....And to think the original cast are willing, able and still look good.

    Here's hoping Hollywood doesn't blow this.

    As said above, make this happen NOW!!

    P.S. I read time and time again on the net, people wanting the original cast. DO IT!!!


  4. It gives me the warm fuzzies to know that more people want a Magnum movie done the RIGHT way. In fact...I'm going to start a Facebook group right now!

  5. I totally agree a Magnum movie without the origanal cast would be awfull considering Mr.Selleck wants in and keeps hinting at it.And the idea of a mimi series is great anyway to get this going works for me but only the original cast.

    Magnum fan forever

  6. Tom Selleck and original cast or they shouldn't even bother!

  7. I own every episode of Magnum,use the theme song for My ring tone,and watch any Tom Selleck film I can find for just a hint of that Magnum MAGIC.It seems almost disrespectful to the actors who brought such great unforgetable characters to life,to want to replace them while They're ready and willing.It's kind of a slap in the face to the fans as well, when We're all begging to see Selleck and crew in action.Let "Rocky Bolboa" be a lesson.It may be better than even the original.His age added seasoning,story,heart,and emmotion to connect to the viewer.Magnum could be older,even wiser, the heart of a father,friend,soldier and of course...P.I.! I'm sorry Thomas!Private Investigator!

  8. Higgins is dead - if you don't know that, please don't write about Magnum, the best show ever....

  9. Right on, Audrey! It is ridiculous to make a Magnum movie without the original cast.

  10. John Hillerman is alive and living in Texas.

  11. Here's a novel idea....
    How 'bout Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger Mosley and Larry Manetti for a Magnum PI Movie or TV film.
    It could even be filmed, say, in Hawaii. Kinda bizarre. I know.

    Come on! Would you film this in Arizona?
    No, because Magnum is Hawaii and
    TOM Freakin SELLECK IS MAGNUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A Magun without Selleck. The dumbest thing I ever heard of.

    Holywood....put the crack pipe down. You can do it,

    and yes to the above comment, John Hillerman is alive and well in Houston.

  12. Another vote for original cast. Wish someone would get It done.

  13. Love the idea of a new series 20 years later. this movie must be stopped unless the original cast is involved.

  14. please,for the love of god. use the original cast, and make this movie. it will make you money, you cant lose on a formula like this. i would take my mom, and my daughters. its magnum, man!!! how could it fail with the original cast, never happen. tons of us fans out there, been waiting for over two decades, amke the damn movie!!!!!!!! buffalo,n.y.

  15. well said, make the damn movie!

  16. I couldn't agree more and I LOVED the article. The final episode of Magnum left the door open for some sort of a sequel. And while re-imagining an old series can sometimes work (Battlestar Galactica), most times the series or new film will fall flat on it's face (Starsky & Hutch, Bewitched, Land of the Lost, etc).

    The biggest problem is the new producer, Brian Grazer. He's been very adamant in stating he will not use the original cast and wouldn't even consider giving them a cameo. Basically, it falls to the fact that Grazer's ego is getting in the way of what could be, either an amazing film or possible new TV series.

    Yes, the cast is all still alive. Although John Hillerman is retired and may be very ill. Also, T.C. (Roger Mosely) is now 71 years old, so time to get cracking.

    Once, just ONCE, I would love to see the studio bosses in Hollywood pay attention and remake this series the way the fans want to see it done. With Tom Selleck and the rest of the cast. Otherwise, it'll be just another flop (Miami Vice ring a bell?), regardless of who plays Thomas Sullivan Magnum.

  17. Well hey, I just found a picture of John Hillerman that was posted just yesterday. He's sitting on his mobility scooter. Higgins could definitely ride a scooter. Take a look: http://magnum-mania.com/images/hillerman_2010_full.jpg

  18. New Magnum P.I. with the old gang ONLY!

    You got my vote!

    Get off your butts hollywood!

    The Magnum theme song's my ringtone too!


  20. It's enough to make me feel ill. Ashton Kutcher is now being considered for the roll. http://www.showbizspy.com/article/204171/ashton-kutcher-to-star-in-magnum-p-i-movie.html


  22. When I heard somebody had secured the rights to the Magnum franchise and was going to use a new, younger cast in the movie, I immediately tracked down the person writing the script and begged them to reconsider. That was back in February of 2006.

    The first thing I did when I signed up on Facebook in 2007 was to create a group called 'Magnum, P.I. Movie: Original Cast Only, Please." The link is http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10241831322&ref=ts.

    If they do go ahead and make the movie with a younger cast, I would love to stage a protest to voice my displeasure and to ask them to use the original cast in the next one. I don't want to boycott the movie -- I know a lot of blood, sweat & tears go into making a film & I also want to show that there's a big enough Magnum fan base to justify making a second film.

    I've read that the new movie isn't going to have short shorts & the famous mustache, so on opening day, I'd like to peacefully protest by picking one theatre in every major city and have people chillin' outside with signs asking for our guys to be in the next film. I'd have the men wear their best short shorts and Selleck 'stache, and the ladies could wear bikinis or 80's Hawaiian wear.

    I feel passionately about this and I'm glad to see you and SO MANY OTHERS (are you reading this, movie execs?) feel the same way. I've also thought about producing the film if I could get my hands on the money to finance it. (And if I did, I'd donate money from the film to Hawaiian conservation groups, 'cause let's be honest, the beautiful State of Hawaii is the biggest star of the show.)

    I think a good start would be to get the old cast together and create a short viral video that is suggestive of Magnum, yet it doesn't violate any copyright or IP laws. Once people get a taste of Selleck et al. back in their old roles, I think we would see the same public demand for these guys to be in the movie that we did with the Facebook movement to get Betty White on "Saturday Night Live!"

    Ugh! This is so frustrating! "Magnum, P.I." is a character-driven show, and it's so clear how much we all associate the actors with their characters -- nobody, and I mean NOBODY but Tom Selleck can play Thomas Sullivan Magnum. I feel like these people in charge of the film have hijacked OUR TV show, OUR characters and OUR memories. I hope it's not too late for them to change their minds...

    Oh! And one more thing I read that I don't like about the movie: Magnum's not a Vietnam vet! What an utterly stupid thing to do (not to mention disrespectful to Vietnam vets)! Magnum was the first character to positively portray Vietnam veterans as they were only depicted in the media at the time as having deep psychological problems (such as in "The Deer Hunter").

    I do feel like we're running out of time, so to the people making the movie, hurry up!!! (And do the right thing, please!!!)

  23. Hey A. I'm SO GLAD to know that you started a group on Facebook. I'm going to join TODAY! I was feeling so discouraged by the lack of support, but I'm so excited to see how many other people out there genuinely care and don't want the movie to be a joke. If Ashton Kutcher is cast...we should seriously stage a protest! Not even kidding.

  24. What's really nice about the people who've signed up at that group is that they're from ALL over the world. THE WHOLE PLANET wants Tom Sellect to resume his role. I just can't understand how the producers think not using them is a better idea.

    I would actually travel to Los Angeles to take part in peaceful demonstration as described above outside of the producer's office to hopefully change their minds before they go ahead with this terrible plan. Ideally, we'd have a catchy viral video promoting the demonstration and, in my wildest dreams, if somehow we could get any of the original cast to help out in any way, that would be AMAZING!

    I would even get a hold of Vietnam vet groups and see if they would like to show up -- I don't think they'd be happy Magnum is no longer a fellow Vietnam vet!

  25. This is not rocket science....I can guarantee the producers that this is one Magnum fan who will NOT pay to see any Magnum movie not starring the original cast. I would venture that there are many, many more just like me. For cryin' out loud, it was the superb characterizations and obvious chemistry between the original actors that made the show so very fine. I cannot imagine any other actor in the title role than Tom Selleck, and ditto for the others, Hillerman, Mosley and Manneti. The producers have got to be nuts to pursue this project as it (apparently) currently stands.

    What stupid asses they must be to pursue this without the original cast members.

  26. ROGER:

    Tom Selleck and Co. are the only ones we will pay to see at the movies. When you say "Magnum" you only think of one group of people !!
    Take us all back to our glory days please.....



    Mr. Brian Grazer
    ...Imagine Entertainment
    9465 Wilshire Blvd., Seventh Floor
    Beverly Hills, CA 90212

  29. This article is spot on, and as someone else has already said; no selleck; no magnum. He IS magnum.

    Only thing I sort of disagree with is the whole "hes the only one who can help" thing in your plot. Far too clishey.
    I think it would fit the magnum character better if he just had a problem keeping his nose out of it.
    Or if just one person appealed to him about putting his nose in it while the "actual" researchers just think hes a pain in the ass.
    Thats magnum in a nutshell.

  30. Please! Use the original cast.

    I am a big Hawaii Five-O fan. At first the show was really bad, now it is a little better. It never watch Hawaii Five-O.

    I think a soild Magnum PI script could be written that would be very interesting providing they attempt to use the original cast members.

    I agree having Magnum's daughter in the remake is a great idea. This would place a new younger spark in the show.

    I really believe someone should gather all the comments about using the original cast and submitting it to the studio. There is an overwhelming number of people that believe in the original cast.

    Great statement... "No Selleck.......No Magnum!!!" That statement says it all....

  31. ALOHA, Still love & miss all you guys. Hope you are all happy. Would love to see you again. How is John? Cant find much info. Hope he is well!


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