After being announced back in 2002, Warner Bros. remake of 1974’s Uptown Saturday Night is (slowly) making its way toward production.
Will Smith and his production company Overbook Entertainment procured the rights to the film and its sequels in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2012 that Warner Bros. announced Anchorman and Step Brothers helmer Adam McKay would direct, while Smith and Denzel Washington would star as the leads.
Now, they’ve enlisted frequent Judd Apatow-collaborator Nicholas Stoller to do a script rewrite.
This will be the third rewrite the film has seen — Cop Out writers Mark and Rob Cullen are reported to have taken a crack at it in 2010, while This Means War scribe Tim Dowling was brought on in August for a rewrite. Script issues aside, it’s hard to say when filming would have even started — both Smith and Washington have been busy with other projects throughout the last 10 years.
The addition of Stoller, whose recent projects include Muppets Most Wanted, suggests Warner Bros. might want to take the film in a slightly different direction than before, aided by a writer who has more experience with features. Though familiar with more standard comedy fare like Fun With Dick and Jane and Yes Man, Stoller will also be able to infuse Uptown with some of the offbeat humor present in The Five-Year Engagement; it’ll be interesting to see it played out by Smith and Washington, who typically go for more mainstream laughs.
McKay also isn’t the first director attached to the project. In 2011 David Dobkin, best-known for Wedding Crashers, was tapped to direct Uptown. There’s no word on why Dobkin left the film, but as his most recent project The Judge is a drama rather than his usual comedy fare, it’s possible he wanted to shake up his CV a bit.
The 1974 Uptown, which starred Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier, follows a pair of friends who attend a party, are robbed, and then must track down the thieves to get back a winning lottery ticket.
Considering Stoller’s new involvement with the project, the remake is looking promising. Both he and McKay are well-known for their tendencies to stick with their favorite actors, which means audiences might be treated to cameos from a few members of the Apatow gang — or Will Ferrell as a crackhead, perhaps? Depending on how things go with some in-development projects, Smith and Washington could finally have enough downtime to start work on the Uptown Saturday Night project — now we just have to wait and see if Stoller can get a draft out next month (as he’s hoping to do).
What do you guys think? Are you excited to see Nicholas Stoller pen a buddy flick for Will Smith and Denzel Washington?