Didja know they’re doing a new rebooted version of the Knight Rider TV series? NBC has made a two-hour back door pilot movie that will air on February 17th and the legendary car will now be portrayed by a Ford Shelby GT500KR Mustang as opposed to the Pontiac Trans Am in the original series. Originally Will Arnett was hired to provide K.I.T.T.‘s snarky voice, but he’s recently been replaced by Val Kilmer:
Oooh, K.I.T.T. voice draaama! Friend of the world’s beaches and former Batman and Real Genius, Val Kilmer, has signed on to voice the smooth-computin’ automobile in the latest TV-reboot of Knight Rider for NBC and Universal. Will Kilmer’s K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Three Thousand) do a passable Elvis impersonation and fire a laser that pops a billion golden kernals? I don’t know wise guy, but I do know that actor Will Arnett (Arrested Development) is right bummed right now. Arnett had already finished recording all of his voice work for the rebooted show, which premieres in just two weeks, see? And before you swipe Kilmer’s jolly hand away as it attempts to steal Arnett’s gooey, delicious voice of K.I.T.T., know this: it isn’t Kilmer’s fault, see?
In one of the silliest signs of a world run amok in corporate Brawndo tie-ins, Arnett has done commercial voice work in the past for General Motors, and K.I.T.T., see, is a Ford Mustang. Kablowski! That invisible line in the industrial sandbox? Well, Arnett just crossed it. But he still had time to jump back over said line, cover his tracks and allow Kilmer to swing in using a vine made from his absolutely batshit resume to save the day and grab a nice payday (PayDay?).
“I was very excited at the prospect of playing the part of KITT in the new ‘Knight Rider’ movie,” Arnett said to Variety. “However, because of a long relationship with General Motors as the voice of GMC Trucks, I had to respectfully withdraw from the project.”
Now that I think about it, I can’t recall the last thing Val Kilmer starred in so perhaps he’s a bit desperate for work. I was probably going to watch the movie anyway seeing as I used to watch the original series, but now I’ll hear Val Kilmer reciting lines from Real Genius in my head every time K.I.T.T. speaks.
Here’s an interesting bit of Knight Rider trivia courtesy of the Wikipedia entry for the show:
KITT’s Pontiac Trans Am chassis was reinforced with Wilton Knight’s revolutionary Molecular Bonded Shell, which was resistant to most known weapons below heavy artillery. The vehicle’s drive train consisted of a turbine engine, capable of accelerating to 300 mph; furthermore, the car had numerous other special abilities, the most notable being a frequently used ‘Turbo Boost’ for jumping over obstacles. This was a stunt similar to that used by the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard, where the car (assisted by the aid of ramps and/or air compression) would leap into the air, usually in order to clear a hazardous obstacle. (In fact, the same stunt coordinator, Jack Gill, was involved in both series.) In Give Me Liberty… or Give Me Death, where an alternative-fuel race takes place, a race car bearing a strong resemblance to the General Lee is racing with KITT. Though the car is missing the trademark Confederate flag and does not sport racing number 01, it is the same color and sports the same wheels as the General Lee. As an aside, its fuel is moonshine, in comparison with KITT’s liquid hydrogen.
I guess that answers the age-old question of who would win in a race between K.I.T.T. and the General Lee, eh? Man, it’s sad that I still ponder such questions.