For those not aware, the Leprechaun franchise is being rebooted by Lionsgate and WWE Films. Yes, the same WWE that you’d associate with lycra, baby oil and steroids. The original Leprechaun was released in 1993, featuring a menacing leprechaun (Warwick Davis) terrorising anyone he could find, including Jennifer Aniston and her rather large nose (this was definitely before the surgery days). The last film in the series was 2003′s Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood. Yes, that’s the actual title. There was actually six films in the series, with the titular character mixing it up with gangsters, seeing Las Vegas and even visiting space. I wish I was making this stuff up, but no. In fairness, I do actually own four of the Leprechaun films, sadly the two I’m missing are two of the more serious films. It’s all about Leprechaun in the Hood for me. It even features Ice T. How cooler could you possibly get?
Anyways, to the point of this story… the remake. So, WWE Studios and Lionsgate have teamed up to reboot the franchise. All that’s known so far is that Warwick Davis will not be playing the titular character. That role will go to a WWE midget wrestler by the name of Hornswoggle. I shit you not. The guys at Crave recently caught up with WWE President Michael Luisi to discuss the project.
How did the Leprechaun franchise end up with WWE?
Well, it’s controlled by Lionsgate and all of the movies that we’re doing mow we do with co-producing, co-financing partners. I come out of 12 years at Miramax so I have a lot of relationships from the Miramax days and when I went out and pitched our new business model to the people I knew at Lionsgate, they said, “Hey, you know what would be kind of fun? Finding something to do with your guys, with one of your superstars, that revolves around one of our existing franchises.” And I said, “I’ve got the project for you: Leprechaun, Hornswoggle.” Our talent Hornswoggle who will play the Leprechaun in the reboot of the franchise.
Will you have a role for Warwick Davis?
I think that’s still an open question. Maybe a cameo. I don’t know at this point. The script is still in development.
Would it take elements from any of the existing Leprechauns?
No, it is a true reboot of the franchise.
Will the tone by less cheesy and campy than the originals?
The tone is going to be a little darker, a little more traditional horror than the Warwick Davis ones that people remember, trying to find a way to please fans of that genre but at the same time this is really being played for scares.
How long before your Leprechaun will go into space or visit the hood?
You know, I guess it depends on how enthusiastic the fan reaction is to the first one that we do.
With all of that information taken in, let’s just say I’m not overly enthusiastic about this project. As a fan of the original series, part of its charm was its cheesy and camp nature. A dark, brooding and serious Leprechaun, featuring a WWE midget wrestler as its lead, just seems destined to fail. I’m not saying a darker film couldn’t work, it’s just the casting of the lead that takes away from any chance the film has of being credible. If you’re not going to get Warwick Davis back, maybe look at Peter Dinklage or even Jordan Prentice.
No further details or release information is known at the project, but expect more on this in the next few months.