04/23/1999 at 12:00 AM EDT

Samuel L. Jackson is in final negotiations to play the title character in a remake of the 1971 action film "Shaft," reports Variety. Director John Singleton plans to shoot this summer from a script by Richard Price. The original -- starring Richard Roundtree as a handsome, tough-talking private detective enlisted by a Harlem mob boss to rescue his kidnapped daughter -- was directed by Gordon Parks and featured a memorable score by Isaac Hayes (currently the voice of Chef on "South Park"). It was considered perhaps the best in the wave of blaxploitation cinema in the early 1970s.

  • Jackson's imminent deal would make it the first of several other remakes in the works that include "Superfly," "Cleopatra Jones" and "Get Christy Love" (for which Whitney Houston has been mentioned as star).

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