We last head about Dax Shepard’s adaptation of CHiPs last September when he commented on the film by saying that it would be more serious than the original TV series, which ran from 1977-1983. However, we didn’t know when California Highway Patrol motorcycle cops Don Baker (Shepard) and Frank “Ponch” Poncherello (Michael Pena) would be hitting the road.
Steve recently spoke to Michael Peña for Ant-Man, and their conversation touched on CHiPs and the project’s status. First, here’s the video:
Pena said that the project was greenlit two or three weeks ago, which means he’s been preparing for the role:
I had to start learning how to ride a motorcycle, rehearsing, and then working out. I’ve been throwing up like every day after workouts. I like food, you know? And I also like reading, being on my iPad, no walks in the park; just chilling with my son. We just lounge and this [gestures to stomach] gets bigger.
Pena also revealed that the movie would be set in the present day, and reiterated Shepard’s earlier statement that the film would be in the vein of Lethal Weapon. Specifically, don’t expect a comedy that’s barraging you with jokes:
It’s more like a Lethal Weapon where there’s a lot of action and what we wanted to do is if there’s any comedy that we do, it’s not like one-liners here and there, like we’re the guys always being stand-up comedians. It’s almost like you lose a little bit of the plotline whenever you’re off doing your own comedy thing, so we’re focusing a little more on the plot, if that makes any sense whatsoever.
Following up on his comment about how the movie will be “Lethal Weapon-ish”, he added that they’re going for an R-rating, which should be interesting. At the very least, it looks like they’re definitely avoiding the Starsky & Hutch approach.
Finally, Pena also noted that the film will co-star Vincent D’Onofrio and that they’re trying to get Kristen Bell (who’s married to Shepard) for a role, so it looks like they’re putting together a strong cast this adaptation. I have no feelings one way or the other about the CHiPs TV series, but I like these actors, and it sounds like they have a solid take on the material, so I’m excited to see what they do with it.