Eight months after director Tim Story signed on to take the helm of New Line Cinema's Shaft reboot, the project has its new lead, plus two returning stars. Jesse T. Usher (Independence Day: Resurgence) has been chosen to play the son of Samuel L. Jackson's John Shaft in Son of Shaft. Samuel L. Jackson will return as John Shaft from the 2000 New Line reboot, while the original John Shaft, Richard Roundtree, who was established as the uncle of Samuel L. Jackson's character in the reboot, will also return to reprise his role. New Line has yet to set a release date for Son of Shaft, but with this cast coming together, that announcement may be coming soon.
Deadline reports that Jesse T. Usher will be playing the "estranged son" of John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) in this Shaft reboot, but he finds himself having to team up with his old man. While it isn't known if he is also named John Shaft, like his father and great uncle before him, Jesse T. Usher's character is an FBI agent and a cyber expert, and pairing up with his father is described by the site as, "an uneasy collision of old school meets new school." No further story details were given, but it seems like this project is finally on the right track.
This Shaft reboot has been in development for quite some time, with our first report on the project coming back in February 2015, when it was revealed that producer John Davis will be shepherding this project through his Davis Entertainment company. Tim Story came aboard to direct in January, when it was also revealed that Black-ish creator Kenya Barris was writing the script with Alex Barnow (The Goldbergs), but this new report doesn't mention Alex Barnow as one of the writers. Regardless, it remains unclear when production will begin, or how many more main characters still need to be cast.
The John Shaft character originated in Ernest Tidyman's 1970 novel, which was quickly adapted into the 1971 film of the same name, starring Richard Roundtree as John Shaft, with Gordon Parks directing. The movie became a cult hit, earning $13 million from a $500,000 budget, becoming one of the most successful and important blaxploitation films, which was an immediate cult classic. Richard Roundtree would return as John Shaft in 1972s Shaft's Big Score and 1973's Shaft in Africa, along with a short-lived Shaft TV series which only ran for seven episodes in 1974. He also returned in the 2000 Shaft remake starring Samuel L. Jackson as his nephew, also named John Shaft, with John Singleton directing and a supporting cast that included Vanessa Williams, Busta Rhymes, Jeffrey Wright and a pre-Batman performance from Christian Bale. The remake was a modest hit, pulling in $70.3 million domestically and $107.1 million worldwide from a $46 million budget.
With the cast starting to come together, it's possible this Shaft movie could start filming perhaps by the end of this year, or in early 2018, which could set it up for a late 2018 debut, or perhaps in the spring of 2019, depending on the production schedule. Jesse T. Usher is best known for playing Dylan Hiller, the son of Stephen Hiller (Will Smith) in last summer's action-packed sequel Independence Day: Resurgence. He also stars as Cam Calloway on the Starz series Survivor's Remorse. He will next be seen on the big screen in Ride and Stronghold.