The former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has quickly become one of Hollywood’s freshest producers. Variety reports that actor and musician Will Smith is working on two new television projects, the most intensive of which appears to be a crime drama in development at Fox. The new series has Smith returning to China for the first time since his Karate Kid production with son Jaden Smith.
Smith and partner and James Lassiter – the team behind Overbrook Entertainment – have partnered with Chinese-born filmmaker Eva Jin to develop The Buddy System, an hour-long crime drama set in China that follows the escapades of a female crime-fighting college student.
Smith is said to be over the moon about the project, which is already being called a Chinese incarnation of Alias. If the show is picked up, creators have not yet decided how much – if any – of the program will actually be filmed on location in China.
Smith and Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment has produced a number of Smith’s recent hit films, including Seven Pounds and I Am Legend. Branching out into the television medium to an unprecedented extent, Smith and Lassiter are also working on a small-screen adaptation of the feature film Hitch, which starred Smith and Kevin James (The King of Queens, Paul Blart: Mall Cop).
In the 2005 romantic comedy, which co-starred Eva Mendes, Smith played a smooth matchmaker who coached others – including James – in their love lives all while his own was crumbling miserably. Consequently, Fox is interested in the hour-long comedy (now in development), although it isn’t clear if either Will Smith or Kevin James will appear in the small-screen Hitch reboot.
Following The King of Queens, James has largely concentrated his professional efforts on his feature film career, including a growing partnership with actor and producer Adam Sandler. Following their stint as gay firefighters in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (see above), both Sandler and James have been chomping at the bit for a new buddy comedy. As a result, James may not have time for a small screen Hitch as the actor recently signed on to star with Sandler in Valet Guys, a comedy just picked up by Sony Pictures Entertainment.