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‘Smokey and the Bandit’ Series in the Works at UCP

Will Thorne
·3-min read

The classic 1977 action comedy “Smokey and the Bandit” is getting the TV treatment.

UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, and Seth MacFarlane’s Fuzzy Door are teaming to develop a series based on the Burt Reynolds movie.

The series is being written by “Pineapple Express” director David Gordon Green and regular collaborator Brian Sides. MacFarlane and Green are both executive producing.

“Smokey and the Bandit” is an epic adventure of family, small-town crime, unlikely heroes, legend and legacy. Inspired by the genre of 70s and 80s drive-in double-features, the series will “explore the crossroads where humble realities meet those larger-than-life, all in a blast of tailpipe exhaust.”

The original film was produced by Universal Pictures and starred Reynolds, who passed away just over two years ago, in the iconic role of Bo “Bandit” Darville. Bandit was payed to bootleg 400 cases of Coors beer across the country from Texarkana, Texas to Atlanta. The pic, which also starred Sally Field, Jerry Reed and Jackie Gleason, was a big box office hit for Universal.

“Growing up in the south, ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ was an iconic franchise for me. The legacy of these characters is a playground of swagger and sass that I’m excited to dig into,” said Green, who is also attached to direct the pilot.

Erica Huggins is executive producing for Fuzzy Door, alongside Green, Danny McBride, Jody Hill and Brandon James for Rough House Pictures.

“When UCP mentioned ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ we were immediately drawn to it,” said Huggins. “We knew we had to remain faithful to its original setting in the South, and find an authentic voice. David’s immediate interest and his unique perspective and love for the original made it possible. ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ was a very cool and irreverent film at the time and we hope to achieve that same feeling in the show.”

The project is the latest to emerge from the bumper overall deal MacFarlane and Fuzzy Door inked with UCP. MacFarlane’s outfit also has a limited series based on Herman Wouk’s novels “The Winds of War,” a drama based on Colin Levy’s viral proof of concept short “Skywatch,” and a project based on the memoir by Carlotta Walls LaNier, the first African American female to graduate from integrated school, in development at UCP. On the unscripted front, the two companies are working on a docuseries called “Micronations.”

Green’s other big screen credits include the reboot of the “Halloween” franchise, and on the TV front he has recently helmed episodes of “Vice Principals,” “Dickinson,” “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” and “The Righteous Gemstones.” He is repped by CAA, Cinetic Media and Pryor Cashman.

Sides has written several screenplays with Green and Jeff Nichols, and worked as a producer and director for documentary series such as “The Horn” and “Alaska: The Last Frontier.”

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