While everyone was obsessing over the not-yet-aired Academy Awards show a couple weeks ago, I was running around in circles at the news that "Police Academy" was coming back. Not just that, but series producer Paul Maslansky was leading the charge to bring it back. This is very exciting news for me, as the "Police Academy" series is one that stands out in my formative experiences with film.
I immediately put in a call to Maslansky, not even daring to hope that he would speak with the press at such an early stage. He did though, and we had a lengthy conversation about the past, present and future of "Police Academy." The specific details haven't yet been hammered out, but it's clear from talking to the man that there's a plan which all involved parties are focused on carrying out. There's too much from the interview to contain in a single blog post, so I figured I'd start off with what my fellow fans are most interested in: what's up with the eighth "Police Academy"?
"I have ideas [and] the executives at New Line have ideas and we’re just in the formative stage," Maslansky explained. "My ambition would be to cast... a new class of Academy cadets, because it’s called 'Police Academy' you can’t get them, you know, [fighting crime] right away, they’ve got to be trained to be police."
Of course, the key to those classic "Police Academy" movies are the faces we remember so well. Mahoney. Hightower. Tackleberry. Hooks. "Motor Mouth" Jones. The success of those original films hinged on the colorful cast, which is something that Maslansky recognizes and acknowledges as an issue to be addressed in planning the next movie.
"You’ve got to of course introduce each character as we did in the first one," he explained. "This kind of comedy is a major challenge because you have to write a lot of jokes and you have to write a lot of personalities into it. Each one of these characters has to be separate from the other, they each have to have their own idiosyncratic behavior."
Important as they are, it's not just quirky cast of characters that will make another "Police Academy" work. "I want to recreate that atmosphere that the first [movie] had. I’m going to use the theme obviously from Robert Folk, who wrote the music. Believe me, that theme, probably it was as helpful as anything in that first movie to bring it to life," Maslansky explained. "I’m going to do everything in my power to satisfy an audience that I know will be accepting."
And so we circle around to the biggest question: where are things right now? "New Line as well as agencies have been giving me scripts of their writers, and there are quite a few writers who are really interested in getting involved in ['Police Academy,']" he said. "There’s such an opportunity to bring good fresh comics to it or actors that can perform comedy, which is a terribly difficult thing to do."
As for the other big question, which characters will be returning, Maslansky isn't naming any names. "I haven’t decided which ones. And I don’t want to mention names and others will be disappointed, at this point," he said. "All I know is that I want to bring back some of the older characters to it, and maybe they’ll have principal roles, some of them, and some of them might be just you know [a cameo]."
The one thing that rings clearly in everything that Maslansky says about the coming "Police Academy" is how excited he is, how much he's looking forward to returning to this classic series. "I trust that we’re going to be up to the challenge. I really hope so, because we don’t want to disappoint the audience out there. I really don’t. Just to make another 'Police Academy' is not what I have in mind."