It's been thirty years since one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time went off the air. These days, Ice Cube is pushing forward plans for its return, and hopes the old fans will give him the benefit of the doubt by offering two familiar words: Welcome back.
"There's a script," the "First Sunday" star said of "Welcome Back, Kotter," which would bring an urban take to the 70's TV classic. "We've got the same characters, they're just re-vamped to suit the times, totally different. It's like, flipped. With me playing Kotter, how couldn't it be?"
For those unfamiliar with the show that launched John Travolta's career, "Kotter" tells the story of a former high school troublemaker who returns to his New York stomping grounds to teach a new generation of underachieving misfit students. Cube said that the current script will maintain that basic framework, but that Mr. Kotter won't be telling schtick-y uncle jokes anymore.
"No, I won't be going that far," he laughed. "You know me, I'm gonna flip it. It ain't gonna be no Gabe Kaplan sh-t."
The rapper/actor also revealed that they've done away with the Barbarino dance, as well as Epstein's running gag of bringing in phony letters from his mother. "The names will be saved, don't worry about it. Everybody will have the same name," he insisted. "To me, it's still a comedy, but it's real. It's more of a 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High,' not so much 'Up your nose with a rubber hose'."
Asserting that he was always a fan of the original show, Cube admitted that it hasn't dated all too well. "How could I do [the movie] remotely like the series? They're still Sweathogs, the people that nobody wants to teach," he explained of the script by "The Hot Chick" writer Tom Brady. "That's how it was back in the day - I know it was a comedy, but now we're flipping it for the movie. These are f-ck ups, real f-ck ups, not no [doing a Washington voice] 'Mr. Kot-ter' sh-t. You know what I mean?"
If the movie does go down, however, Cube has every intention of finding the old-school Sweathogs to stand alongside the new ones. "I want everybody. I want Travolta for a cameo, I want Gabe Kaplan for a cameo. I want Epstein, Horshack, Washington," he insisted. "If they do [make the movie], I want 'em in."
That's where the problem comes in. With all the strike uncertainty currently surrounding Hollywood, Cube's "Kotter" is currently residing in development hell. "Ask the Weinsteins," he shrugged, before offering one surefire indicator being watched by Bob and Harvey. "If you do want to see [my version], then you should pick up the DVD series."
Ooh...oooh...Are you excited about the idea of a "Kotter" remake? What do you think of Cube's new vision for tougher Sweathogs? Weigh in with your thoughts below!