In an announcement earlier today, ABC purchased the rights to Untitled Rome Project (a working title, obviously), a semi-autobiographical comedy from Hollywood husband-and-wife team Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. The project has been in the works for some time.
Untitled Romeo Project follows the titular Romeo, a man of Dominican-American descent living in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Romeo struggles to relate to his father while creating his own identity, a “new vision of the American Dream.” While Will Smith obviously didn’t grow up in New York and isn’t Dominican (you get absolutely zero points for knowing where he was born and raised) the show will draw on experiences in his life, including his struggles to please his father. The main character will be played by Romeo Santos, a popular Latin singer and Bronx native.
The project is in the early stages of development, with James Lassiter sharing executive producer duties with both Smiths. Lassiter has produced most of Will Smith’s movies for the last ten years, including Seven Pounds, Hancock, I Am Legend and Hitch. Writers currently attached to Untitled Romeo Project include Chris Pappas and Mike Bernier of the single-season divorcee comedy Unhitched.
Both Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are well-versed in multi-camera comedies. Will Smith transitioned from a successful rapper to a major Hollywood star by way of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, where he played himself for six seasons. The show is still very popular in syndication. Jada Pinkett Smith starred in A Different World for three seasons, and went on to play in movies like Menace II Society, Scream 2 and The Matrix Reloaded. Jada Pinkett Smith took the lead role in TNT’s HawthoRNe, which was cancelled earlier this year. The husband and wife co-produced the 2010 remake of The Karate Kid, which starred their son Jaden.
Speaking of which, Jaden Smith (13) and/or Willow Smith (10) may have parts waiting for them on the new project, considering their previous work in Will Smith’s movies. Jaden starred opposite his father in The Pursuit of Happyness in 2006, and Willow had small parts in and I Am Legend and Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa (Jada Pinkett Smith plays Gloria the expressive hippo in both Madagascar movies and the upcoming Madagascar 3). Supporting parts for either or both Smith children seem likely.
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Source: The Hollywood Reporter