Frank Drebin is back

Lipshitz is saving the world, and Leslie Neilsen is going along for the ride.

The veteran actor, who starred in the classic sci-fi film Forbidden Planet and the classic comedy film Airplane!, has signed up for a role in the NBC pilot Lipshitz Saves the World . The pilot is from Cars writer Dan Fogelman.

Lipshitz follows the adventures of a teenage boy who discovers that he might be the only one who can save Earth from various nefarious plots; Fogelman describes it as "The Matrix, if Keanu Reeves wasn't good looking." Nielsen will play Lipshitz's mentor, a role Fogelman says he wrote for the actor before even meeting him.

"I'm a lifelong fan and wrote the part specifically for him, never having met him, and with no knowledge of whether or not he'd take to it," Fogelman told The Hollywood Reporter. "But he could not have been more gracious and responsive once he read the script. I will now reward him by making him spend seven days on a set in [the bleak Los Angeles suburb of] Chatsworth."

In the '50s, Nielsen was best known as the stoic leading man in such films as Forbidden Planet and Ransom!. In 1980, he revealed his deadpan comedic abilities as the doctor on board the Airplane!. In 1982, Airplane! producers David and Jerry Zucker created the TV show Police Squad!, in which Neilson played overtly serious detective Frank Drebin. Squad! lasted only six episodes but spawned the successful Naked Gun movie series.

Since then, Nielsen has enjoyed a flourishing career in big-screen comedies. Most recently, he starred as the US president in Scary Movie 4.

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