Cast This: Jake Gittes (Netflix’s Chinatown prequel series)

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Cast This, JoBlo

Everything old is new again. We've seen plenty of classic films and TV shows brought back in some form in recent years, either as a reboot, revival, or long-delayed sequel/prequel. It seems that Roman Polanski's CHINATOWN will be the next classic film to return as it was announced just last week that David Fincher and Robert Towne, who penned the original screenplay, would be teaming up to write the pilot script for a CHINATOWN prequel series which would stream on Netflix.

The 1974 film starred Jack Nicholson as Jake Gittes, a private detective who was hired to expose an adulterer but found himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder instead. The potential CHINATOWN prequel will focus a young Jake Gittes as he "plies his business in a town where the wealthy and corruption involves areas like land, oil and gangs." As the original film is still considered to be one of Hollywood's all-time greats, I'd understand why you might be rolling your eyes at the thought of a prequel, but with David Fincher and Robert Towne onboard, I'll admit to being quite intrigued by the possibilities. To be fair, this isn't the first time that we've returned to the world of CHINATOWN, as Towne also scripted THE TWO JAKES, the 1990 sequel to the original which found Jack Nicholson reprising the role of Jake Gittes in addition to directing. Unfortunately, the sequel was a box-office failure which led to plans for a potential third film being scrapped.

In many ways, Jake Gittes is your typical hard-boiled private eye; equal parts slick and sleazy, Gittes isn't afraid to get his hands dirty while investigating his cases. Despite his sense of humour and fondness for dirty jokes, Gittes is also rather jaded and cynical, but I would imagine that the CHINATOWN prequel might just paint the private investigator in a more optimistic light, perhaps exploring what led him down the path we find him on in the Roman Polanski film.

Jack Nicholson was approaching 40 when CHINATOWN was released back in 1974, but as we don't know exactly which period of Jake Gittes' early life this prequel will explore, we'll try to keep our options open when it comes to possible actors for the role; Plus, this is David Fincher we're talking about, he doesn't have to follow the rules. As usual, I'll toss out a few suggestions to get you started. Boyd Holbrook (IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON) may be the same age as Jack Nicholson was during CHINATOWN, but the actor has played his fair share of sleazy characters and investigators, and I'd love to see him take on a high-profile role in a Fincher series. Now that is seems unlikely that Alden Ehrenreich (SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY) will be reprising his role of Han Solo in the STAR WARS franchise anytime soon (although stranger things have happened), the actor might just be free for a new project which would help him to stretch his range a little further. For my final suggestion, I'll go with Caleb Landry Jones (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS), who has impressed with his supporting roles in GET OUT and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI.

Remember, you're free to suggest anyone in the comments, so let your inner casting director run wild!

Cast This, JoBlo, Jake Gittes, Chinatown, Boyd Holbrook, Alden Ehrenreich, Caleb Landry Jones

Previously on Cast This, you were asked to fill the role of Enchantress, a villain who could appear in the upcoming THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER. As usual, you came through with plenty of awesome suggestions for the role, including Charlize Theron (BOMBSHELL), Samara Weaving (READY OR NOT), and Katheryn Winnick (Vikings).

Cast This, JoBlo, Enchantress, Thor: Love and Thunder, Charlize Theron, Samara Weaving, Katheryn Winnick


About the Author

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.