James Gandolfini Flags Down TAXI 0-22 for a Ride Back to HBO

     May 5, 2010

We know for certain that The Sopranos star James Gandolfini is coming home to HBO in a producing capacity at the very least for the network’s adaptation of French Canadian sitcom Taxi 0-22.  But the really exciting news is that Gandolfini may once again grace the airwaves of the network that made him a star, and assume the lead role.  Dave Flebotte (Desperate Housewives) is scripting the adaptation, which centers on “a politically incorrect cab driver in New York City struggling to keep his life together” [Deadline].

Gandolfini’s career has been relatively quiet since The Sopranos went off the air in 2007, though he impressed in the British comedy In the Loop and as the voice of Carol in Where the Wild Things Are.  Gandolfini has reportedly eyed a number of HBO projects as potential vehicles over the past couple years; another contender is set in the Arctic (wish I knew more about this one).  Hit the jump for details on how ripe the source material is for adaptation.

All the clips of the original are in French, of course, so I can’t necessarily vouch for the quality–interesting handheld camerawork, though, if that means anything.  I’ll turn to Wikipedia for a fuller synopsis:

“The series stars Patrick Huard as Montreal  cab driver Rogatien Dubois Jr. II. The first season is predominantly set inside Dubois’ dark blue taxi, a Ford Crown Victoria, and the comedy unfolds through his interactions–usually opinionated and deeply held–with the guest stars and other passengers who ride in his cab. Season two expanded the show’s narrative to focus more on stories and characters outside of his taxi. Dubois speaks a thickly accented and rapidly delivered Quebec slang.”

It doesn’t sound all too dissimilar from HBO’s nineties flagship Taxicab Confessions, save for a role reversal between cabbie and passenger.  And lest we forget, the art of cab driving formed the narrative well of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Taxi.  I hope this project comes together because, especially if Gandolfini takes the lead, it sounds like a great weekly viewing.  And if this one doesn’t work out, let’s get the man a ship and chart a course for that Arctic series.