Variety and BBC confirms Val Kilmer as KITT in New Knight Rider

In a story we exclusively broke to you yesterday: Will Arnett had to drop from the Knight Rider project - Val Kilmer has stepped into his place. And now - proper media channels are reporting it too:

From Variety:

Val Kilmer voices 'Knight Rider' Actor replaces Will Arnett as NBC's KITT By JOSEF ADALIAN

A carmaker conflict has caused NBC to hire Val Kilmer to replace Will Arnett as the voice of KITT on its "Knight Rider" revival.

Arnett ("Arrested Development") had already completed his part for the pic, which is slated to debut on NBC in less than two weeks. Producers Doug Liman, Dave Bartis and Dave Andron -- along with the network and studio -- were all fine with his performance.

Problem is, Arnett had a contractual conflict of interest.

For the better part of a decade, Arnett has done voice-over work for General Motors -- as the voice of GMC Trucks. NBC's new "Knight," however, is "played" by a Ford Mustang.

What's more, Ford isn't simply providing cars for "Knight Rider." It's taking an active role in the marketing and branding of the pic, a backdoor pilot for a possible series. Ford's logo even appears all over NBC's on-air promos for the pic.

Not surprisingly, when GM found out about the Ford connection, it asked Arnett to pull out.

"I was very excited at the prospect of playing the part of KITT in the new 'Knight Rider' movie," Arnett said. "However, because of a long relationship with General Motors as the voice of GMC Trucks, I had to respectfully withdraw from the project."

While NBC and Universal Media Studios will have to scramble to replace Arnett's dialogue with Kilmer's work, the upside is landing a well-known name for the part. In addition to his roles in pics such as "Batman Forever," "Heat" and "Top Gun," Kilmer has done plenty of voice-over work, including the voice of Moses in 1998's "The Prince of Egypt."

From BBC:

Kilmer 'will voice' Knight Rider

Val Kilmer is to provide the voice of talking car Kitt in the TV movie remake of the 1980s series Knight Rider, trade magazine Variety says.

He replaces Will Arnett, star of comedy Arrested Development, who pulled out after a row over motor company Ford's sponsorship of the film, Variety adds.

It said Ford's rival, General Motors, asked him to step down because he had voiced adverts for the firm.

The film is due to air on the NBC network in the US on 17 February.

Guest appearance

Arnett told Variety he had been "very excited" about voicing the part of Kitt, which he had already recorded.

"However, because of a long relationship with General Motors as the voice of GMC Trucks, I had to respectfully withdraw from the project," he added.

Bourne Identity director Doug Liman is executive producer of the pilot, which will lead to a TV series if successful.

Soap actor Justin Bruening, 28, stars as the son of David Hasselhoff's original character, Michael Knight.

Hasselhoff will also make a guest appearance, reprising his career-making role.

  • Lee

    Ah 'tis true.

  • Jason UK

    I dunno. Voice work and appearing as the star in a series when you are required almost every day are two seperate things. Voice work can be recorded in bulk and you'll always have a stand-in on set. So Kilmer could do any multitude of projects alongside Knight Rider.

    No one's too big or too busy for voice work. Look at Terrence Stamp as the voice of Jor-El in Smallville.

  • Lee

    It's a shame about Will Arnett, but I think this could turbo boost the pilot to be made into a full series.

    However if it does, I don't see Val Kilmer sticking with it.

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