Exclusive : Ashton in Cop 4!?


Like a fat man manning the oars at Disneyland’s Rivers of America, quite a few are understandably sweating when it comes to the looming ”Beverly Hills Cop 4”.

And can you blame them? John Landis’s ‘’Beverly Hills Cop III’’ (1994) stuck such a rusty needle in the once healthy franchise that not even a shot of fuck-that could expunge the infection. Even Eddie Murphy just wanted to let Axel sleep after that little number.

But there’s good news! Not only is Lorenzo di Bonaventura working diligently on ‘’Cop 4’’, making sure the script is up to scratch and the tone is more Brest than Landis (though I hear it’s also not too far from Tony Scott – Ok with me), but he’s determined to make this a ‘’true sequel’’ to the 1984 hit.

What’s that mean? For a start it means Rosewood and Taggart! You’ve likely already heard that the former (played by Judge Reinhold) will return (and I won’t say what he’ll be getting up to in this one), but you may be surprised to hear that John Ashton’s being coaxed back to play the character he retired after ‘’Beverly Hills Cop II” (1987).

Ashton was set to play Detective John Taggart in ‘’Beverly Hills Cop III’’ but due to scheduling difficulties, had to opt out. Instead, a new character, the Taggatt-like John (Hector Elizondo), was written into the script to make up for Taggart’s absence.

But Ashton is definitely wanted back for ‘’Beverly Hills Cop 4’’. Taggart might no longer be on the beat (he, as we learnt in the last film, had retired) but he definitely has a part to play in the upcoming Brett Ratner-directed sequel.

61-year-old Ashton has been a bit quieter in recent years. He had roles in Ben Affleck’s ‘’Gone Baby Gone’’ and George Gallo’s ‘’Middle Men’’, and recently appeared as a detective on ‘’Law & Order : Special Victims Unit’’, but back in the 80s he was seemingly in every second movie. …and boy did he do some goodies – ‘’Midnight Run’’, ‘’She’s Having a Baby’’, ‘’Some Kind of Wonderful’’, ‘’King Kong Lives’’…. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say he never quite topped Taggatt from the ‘’Beverly Hills Cop’’ movies. It’s the role he’s most treasured for.

There might not be appearances by the likes of series staples Bogomil (Ronny Cox), Jeffrey (Paul Reiser), Serge (Bronson Pinchot), or Inspector Todd (Gill Hill; suppose it’d be hard to reincorporate him back into proceedings after he croaked it in the last one!), but at least we’ll have the one-and-only John Taggart back… where he belongs!

Writer Derek Haas told Moviehole recently that ”Cop 4” started out as something completely original – but was retooled for Axel Foley. ‘’Michael [Brandt] and I wrote a spec script called Dying Day, a dark action movie about two FBI field agents in LA who discover their whole office is crooked. Paramount bought it and asked us to convert it into the next Axel Foley movie… which sounded like a cool challenge.. Someone at a different website reviewed our first draft of the [Beverly Hills Cop] script and railed on it for not having any jokes. No shit! Like with the first Beverly Hills Cop, we’re writing a straight up action movie that works as a police thriller, then Eddie Murphy is going to come in later and point out where he thinks he can riff. We haven’t gotten to that point yet.’’

Haas seems to have a good idea as to what makes a good sequel.

He explained, “I think you have to focus on the protagonist and set up a conflict based on or suggested by the first movie. You don’t sacrifice character just for bigger action or more special effects. You always start with character and say, “what does he want at the beginning of the film?” Then just tell a great story that doesn’t snub what came before it but builds on it.’’

(Update : There’s a rumor floating about that the latest script may now have been discarded, and that may be true, but our contact tells us – this morning – “the plan is for Reinhold and Ashton to be incorporated into the film”. They’d be crazier than a cut snake not to, right? Oh, the news that Ashton is wanted comes via a trusted source at the Melrose compound who claims Brett Ratner is the ringleader when it comes to making sure Ashton and Reinhold are in the film).

Sounds like it could be coming together nicely!

As soon as Ashton is signed (which he isn’t,he’s simply a wanted man at this stage), we’ll let you know!

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Caffeinated Clint
Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole. Loves David Lynch, David Fincher... actually, any filmmaker by the name of David.