CBS’ ‘Training Day’ Reboot Aims to Depart from Original Film

"One of the first things we talked about is not redoing the movie," said executive producer Will Beall during the show's TCA panel.
Michael Yarish/CBS

CBS is continuing television's reboot trend with an adaptation of Training Day.

But the series from Antoine Fuqua already is distancing itself from his 2001 film starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke.

"One of the first things we talked about is not redoing the movie. The movie is it’s own thing. It’s this classic crime story. So we gave [the film's main characters] respectful distance in the show," said executive producer Will Beall during a panel for the show at the Television Critic's Association winter press tour, pointing to Noah Hawley's FX adaptation of Fargo as an example he'd like to emulate.

The show is a reimagining of the Training Day story that begins 15 years after the movie left off. It centers on an idealistic young African-American police officer, played by newcomer Justin Cornwell, who is appointed to an elite squad of the LAPD where he is partnered with a seasoned and morally ambiguous detective (Bill Paxton).

One of the biggest differences between the two projects is the tone. "The TV show has humor, much more than the movie," said Fuqua, who is serving as an executive producer on the series. "Sometimes I'll be watching and I'll be like, 'Is this a comedy?' That's been the fun of doing the show for me."

Paxton, for his part, didn't want to mimic the movie or Washington's role. "I didn’t want to rematch the movie or anything. What’s the point in that?" said the actor. "Denzel has always had a razor-sharp wit. That was the only thing I took away — I knew I had to be quick on the trigger."

When asked by a reporter if casting a white actor in the role originally played by Washington "dilutes" the story at all, Fuqua insisted it didn't. "It doesn't dilute it at all. The real guys on the street look like everybody in this room," he responded, adding of the original part: "That role had nothing to do with the color of his skin."

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