That’s according to a report in Deadline Hollywood, which also notes WB is negotiating with Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, the duo perhaps best known for playing the short-shorts-wearing cops on “Reno 911!” as script writers. The outlet recently reported that director Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity,” “Swingers”) was being lined up as director after earlier talks with Thurber fell through.
The original “Cannonball,” released in 1981 and a staple of early cable-TV movie channels, was directed by Hal Needham and grossed $72.1 million at the box office. It starred Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore and Dom DeLuise in an action-comedy about a police-defying race from New England to Los Angeles. It was based on the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, an illegal coast-to-coast rally organized by then-Car and Driver editor-in-chief Brock Yates, who also wrote the script, during the 1970s as a protest to the 55 mph speed limit then effect across the United States.
It featured Reynolds and Fawcett driving an ambulance, Jackie Chan in a rocket-propelled 1980 Subaru DL, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin disguised as priests in a Ferrari 308 GT, among others, as they evaded a series of incompetent police. “Cannonball Run II” appeared in 1984, also directed by Needham, while an unaffiliated movie alternately titled “Speed Zone” and “Cannonball Fever,” with only Jamie Farr’s sheik character returning from the original duo, came out in 1989 and was a bomb among critics and moviegoers.
Last August, Thurber told Slashfilm that a new “Cannonball” won’t follow the more recent template of super-extreme auto stunts.
“I think we’re living in a post or current ‘Fast and Furious‘ world,” he said. “So I don’t think ‘Cannonball’ can out-‘Fast and Furious’ the ‘Fast and Furious.’ That’s its own thing, but we definitely want to harness that with the fun of ‘Oceans 11’ and put those together. It’ll have to be a different thing than ‘Fast,’ but should have some great car action, obviously.”
Warner Bros has reportedly acquired all the sequel and remake rights to the franchise from Yates, the Hal Needham Estate and Fortune Star LTD.