Every generation deserves its own SHAFT. The tough-as-nails detective from the 1970s (first portrayed by Richard Roundtree) was reinvented by Samuel L. Jackson in 2000. And now, nearly two decades later, both Roundtree and Jackson will be teaming up with Jessie T. Usher for a brand-new take on the classic detective.
In this updated sequel, directed by Tim Story, Jessie T. Usher plays John “JJ” Shaft Jr., an FBI agent and cybersecurity expert whose best friend is murdered. Anxious to figure out who did it, JJ turns to his father, John Shaft II (Jackson), for help in investigating the crime. The sequel opens on June 14, and tickets just went on sale, so grab yours now.
During a recent trip to the SHAFT film set, CinemaBlend spoke with Usher about the way the cast is approaching SHAFT 2019. He opened up about how he’s exploring this character and refining him for a new generation.
“What Sam did [with SHAFT 2000] was an extension of what Richard created, like who he was,” Usher said. “But when we meet JJ, we see there’s a whole different take on what a SHAFT can be — like how he carries himself, how he speaks, how he walks, how he dresses, how he interacts with people. It’s immensely, like, it’s vastly different. So, you see an entirely different type of SHAFT living in a whole different world, and then those two worlds eventually clash and become intertwined. And you get an even newer version of SHAFT. It’s like a third, evolved generation of SHAFT.”
SHAFT co-star Alexandra Shipp thinks that there’s an even bigger change that director Tim Story and his screenwriters are bringing to this threequel that will set it apart from the modern competition.
“This movie is a different type of SHAFT,” Shipp said. “I think that this new wave of millennial generation movies, it’s always something about social media. What I love about this movie is it’s not about social media; it’s about how millennials are woke, and there’s a difference … there’s just a different viewpoint. He can still have all the swag, but he just doesn’t have to be misogynistic and over the top, because that’s not what millennials are like.”
It sounds like the new SHAFT will speak to a younger generation, moviegoers who wouldn’t connect to the tone and vibe of the 1970s SHAFT, because that was reaching out to a totally different audience. And this is how viable franchises evolve over the years, by changing their viewpoints and attempting to bring new messages that are relevant.
And yet, SHAFT likely will still deliver the action and laughs that have become part of the series since the 1970s. Jessie T. Usher, Regina Hall and Alexandra Shipp will join the icons of the SHAFT saga, Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson, when SHAFT arrives in theatres on June 14. Tickets are now on sale, so make sure that you have your opening weekend SHAFT seats before they all disappear.