At Least 38 Film And TV Remakes/Reboots Featuring Black Talent Are In Development
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At Least 38 Film And TV Remakes/Reboots Featuring Black Talent Are In Development

You’ve likely heard or read this popular lament made before, whenever a new project is announced that happens to be a remake or a reboot of some oldie: “Hollywood is running out of ideas!”

I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s true as much as it is that, as the media landscape rapidly changes, the need for box office sure-things has become even more crucial for the companies navigating these seemingly uncharted, unpredictable waters with regards to the creation and distribution of content. And so capitalizing on name recognition of once popular titles is likely seen as much less risky, than investing in entirely new, *unproven* ideas. Unfortunately, I don’t expect this trend to reverse anytime soon, especially as studio decisions are continuously proven to be on target, with each financially successful remake or reboot that’s released.

For example, of the top 20 grossing movies distributed theatrically in 2017, in the USA, only 3 of them were based on non-existing properties – Get Out, Dunkirk, and Coco. The remaining 17 were sequels, spin-offs, adaptations, reboots and remakes, creating a challenging environment for screenwriters and filmmakers with original ideas – specifically those who work (or aim to work) within the Hollywood studio movie factory. With decisive results like this, there’s practically very little reason for anything to change; so expect more of the same, at least, until the current formula no longer works as well.

This seemed like a good time to start compiling a list of all officially announced remakes and reboots with black creatives in front of and/or behind the camera, that are at some stage of development, for both the big and small screens. This does not include remakes in which studios and networks will racebend characters for diversity.

We’ll continue to update this database as new information is provided.

In no specific order:

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Superfly: Sony is developing a contemporary remake of the blaxploitation classic, with Director X attached to direct and Trevor Jackson confirmed to star as Youngblood Priest. A June 2018 release date is scheduled.

The Upside: The Weinstein Co.’s remake of the French blockbuster dramedy The Intouchables, which made Omar Sy an international star. The American remake, titled The Upside, stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston. The film was set for a March 9 release date, but was yanked from schedule. No new release date has been announced.

Widows: Director Steve McQueen’s much-anticipated return to the big screen since 2013’s Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave. And what a way to come back, with a film starring powerhouse actors including Viola Davis, Robert Duvall, André Holland, Cynthia Erivo and others, in a film remake of a 1980s British TV series of the same name, although set in contemporary Chicago.

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Uptown Saturday Night:  In 2002, Will Smith, via Overbrook, secured the rights to the original Sidney Poitier-directed trilogy (including Let’s Do It Again, 1975; and A Piece of the Action, 1977), with interest in remaking the films, starting with Uptown Saturday Night, in what sounded like a possible all-star African American Ocean’s Eleven-style romp, starring Smith, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, and others who were said to be part of the conversation at the time. The project, which has been touched by several different writers since the initial announcement, is still in development Limbo. Our last update on it was in 2014, when yet another a new writer was hired to work on the script – Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). Also, Adam McKay (The Big Short) has been attached to direct since 2012.

Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!: An upcoming live television special, scheduled to broadcast on NBC on April 1, 2018 on Easter Sunday. Starring John Legend as Jesus Christ, the show follows other successful NBC Live! musical adaptations for television including The Sound of Music Live! (2013), Peter Pan Live! (2014), The Wiz Live! (2015), and Hairspray Live! (2016).

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48 Hrs: Paramount Players is mounting a remake to the 1982 film, with Good Time sibling filmmaking team Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, along with The Carmichael Show creator and star Jerrod Carmichael and Ronald Bronstein, both on board to co-write the screenplay with Josh. No actors are attached at this time. No release date either.

Shaft: New Line’s Tim Story-directed new Shaft film stars past Shaft actors Samuel L. Jackson and and Richard Roundtree, as well as newcomer Jessie T. Usher as John Shaft Jr. (a.k.a. JJ), Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Cliff “Method Man” Smith and Matt Lauria. The films is set for a June 14, 2019 release.

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Car Wash: As of 2016, Universal was planning a remake of the 1976 Michael Schultz comedy that originally starred Franklyn Ajaye, Bill Duke, George Carlin, Irwin Corey, Ivan Dixon, Antonio Fargas, Jack Kehoe, Clarence Muse, Lorraine Gary, The Pointer Sisters, and Richard Pryor. Suzanne Coston is producing the remake, with Suzanne de Passe executive producing. No other announcements have been made on the project since then.

What Women Want: Paramount Players has signed Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson to star in What Men Want, a comedy inspired by the 2000 Nancy Meyers hit romantic comedy What Women Want, that starred Mel Gibson. The studio is fast-tracking the film, and has set it for release on January 11, 2019.

— House Party: LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment is producing a remake of the 1990s film franchise with Atlanta writers Stephen Glover (Donald Glover’s brother) and Jamal Olori.

A Bittersweet Life: Denzel Washington was once attached to star in this remake of the 2005 South Korean gangster film, but it never got off the ground. Fox is now revamping the project, this time with Michael B. Jordan attached to star and Jennifer Yuh Nelson to direct. No release date yet.

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The Thomas Crowne Affair: Another remake (of the 1968 Norman Jewison-directed film) with Michael B. Jordan attached to star, set up at MGM. No other information is available at this time.

The Twilight Zone: CBS is rebooting the iconic TV series for its SVOD/live-streaming platform CBS All Access, with Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions attached to executive produce and collaborate on the premiere episode.

The Great Outdoors: Kevin Hart is attached to star in a reboot of Universal Pictures’ 1988 John Hughes-scripted comedy. The original Howie Deutch-directed film starred Dan Aykroyd and John Candy and focused on a Chicago man whose plans for a relaxing outdoor camping trip is imperiled when his annoying in-laws come to visit. No other information is available at this time.

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First Wives Club: Paramount Network (previously Spike TV) and Paramount Television have tapped Girls Trip co-writer Tracy Oliver to script a half-hour TV series adaptation of the 1996 Paramount Pictures movie, which starred Diane Keaton, Bette Midler and Goldie Hawn, and will be based on New York City. The TV series remake also promises a diverse cast.

Bad Boys: Gabrielle Union (who appeared in 2003’s Bad Boys II) is attached to star in NBC’s untitled Bad Boys spinoff drama pilot, written by The Blacklist writers-producers Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier. No other information is available at this time.

Miami Vice: NBC has put into development a reboot of its signature 1980s action crime drama, with the Fast & Furious duo of Vin Diesel and Chris Morgan producing. No cast attached at this time.

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Misfits: Freeform has given a pilot order to Misfits, an American remake of the British series, with a diverse cast of the five leads that includes Ashleigh LaThrop, Tre Hall, Allie MacDonald and Jake Cannavale. Victoria Mahoney is making in her pilot directing debut.

The Predator: Another installment in the long-running 20th Century Fox franchise will be directed by Shane Black, and stars a diverse cast of actors that includes Trevante Rhodes, Keegan-Michael Key, and Sterling K. Brown. It’s set to be released on August 3, 2018.

Cleopatra Jones: A remake of the blaxploitation classic that starred the late Tamara Dobson, is set up at Warner Bros, with Underground creator Misha Green to write, produce. No other information is available at this time.

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Cooley High: A remake of Michael Schultz’s 1975 classic is in the works at MGM, with DeVon Franklin, Common and Tony Krantz teaming up to produce, and Seth Rosenfeld penning the script. No cast or release date at this time.

I Spy: Fox TV has committed to a put pilot (a pilot that the network has agreed, at a minimum, to air either as a special or series) for a potential series that will be “loosely-based” on I Spy, the secret-agent buddy adventure series that ran for 3 seasons on NBC from 1965 to 1968, which starred Bill Cosby and Robert Culp as US intelligence agents working undercover. No other information is available at this time.

White Men Can’t Jump: Like a handful of other professional athletes, LA Clippers power forward Blake Griffin and Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kahlil are dipping their toes into the film and TV business as producers, launching a production company called Mortal Media. They’re teaming up with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris to develop a remake of White Men Can’t Jump, the 1992 drama-comedy written and directed by Ron Shelton, starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as streetball hustlers. The remake is set up a 20th Century Fox.

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Living Single: Queen Latifah (who co-starred in and would later serve as a producer of the series) confirmed during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in 2017, that she was working on a Living Single reboot. She went on to say that “the goal” would be to get all of the original cast members to sign on to the reboot. So fans should hope that Kim Fields, Kim Coles, Erika Alexander, John Henton, and T.C. Carson are as excited about the idea as Queen Latifah seemed to be. As for on what network it will air, Latifah said, “We’re still figuring all that out.”

In the Heat of the Night: A TV series reboot of the 1967 classic drama is in development by MGM, with Tate Taylor (director of The Help and Get on Up) writing and directing, from a script by Black Panther and People v. O. J. Simpson Writer Joe Robert Cole.

Charlie’s Angels: As of late 2017, Lupita Nyong’o was said to be in early talks to topline Sony’s Charlie’s Angels reboot, which has Elizabeth Banks attached to direct. Kristen Stewart was also reportedly in talks. The film is slated for release June 7, 2019 release.

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Foxy Brown: Meagan Good is making another attempt at a TV series – one that’s also based on a movie, following Minority Report at Fox 2 seasons ago, which unfortunately was axed by the network after its first season. This time around, Good is bringing Foxy Brown (the 1974 Blaxploitation flick that helped put Pam Grier on the map) to the small screen as a series that’s set up at Hulu and will be executive produced by DeVon Franklin and Tony Krantz, with MGM TV studios.

Miss Granny: Lionsgate and Tyler Perry are teaming up to produce an English-language remake of the 2014 South Korean hit dramedy Miss Granny. The remake, which will be targeted at black audiences specifically, will be produced in a partnership between Perry’s 34th Street Films and South Korean media company CJ E&M. The original Miss Granny was directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk and starred Na Moon-hee as a woman in her 70s who magically finds herself in the body of her 20-year-old self after having her picture taken at a mysterious photo studio.

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The Rocketeer: Like a handful of other professional athletes, LA Clippers power forward Blake Griffin and Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kahlil are dipping their toes into the film and TV business as producers, launching a production company called Mortal Media. The other project announced that they are developing is a remake of The Rocketeer with a black female lead. The project is set up at Disney, although no cast or director attachments have been announced.

Men in Black: F. Gary Gray is attached to direct the Men In Black film franchise relaunch for Sony and Amblin, from a script by Iron Man writers Matt Holloway & Art Marcum. No cast attachments at this time, although neither Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones are expected to be back. The reboot will feature an entirely new cast.

Matrix: Last year, it was announced that Warner Bros. is reportedly developing a reboot of The Matrix with interest in Michael B. Jordan starring. The project was said to be in the very early stages of development with Zak Penn (Ready Player One) in talks to write a treatment for the project. The originators of the series, the Wachowskis, aren’t involved in any way. No word on the possible reboot since that initial 2017 announcement.

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Good Times: Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin are developing a feature film based on the 1970s hit sitcom, with Black-Ish creator Kenya Barris hired to pen the proposed film’s script, apparently replacing Phil Johnston who was initially hired. Rudin will produce the film with Eli Bush, with a story (as was initially revealed in 2013, when the project was first announced) that will be set in the 1960s, although we know nothing more than that at this time.

Get Christie Love: ABC has greenlighted an hour-long drama pilot remake of the 1970s series, from Power creator/showrunner Courtney Kemp and producers Vin Diesel, Debra Martin Chase and Shana C. Waterman, and Pitch star Kylie Bunbury booked as the lead.

The Fly: JD Dillard (whose feature film debut Sleight, starring Jacob Latimore, was a Sundance Film Festival 2017 selection) is attached to co-write and direct a remake of the horror classic for Fox. No word on what this new take on the material might be, and no other attachments or release date announced.

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Jacob’s Ladder: LD Entertainment has greenlit a “re-imagining” of the 1990 supernatural thriller, starring Michael Ealy, with Nicole Beharie and Jesse Williams, and directed by David M. Rosenthal, who directed Ealy in the 2015 thriller The Perfect Guy. Co-produced by Will Packer Productions, a release date for the remake hasn’t been set yet.

— The Lion King: Jon Favreau is directing a live action remake of the Disney property, with Donald Glover voicing Simba, James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen providing the voices of Timon and Pumbaa, John Oliver voicing Zazu, and Chiwetel Ejiofor taking on the role of Scar. The film is expected on July 19, 2019.

Sister Act: A remake of the hit 1992 convent comedy that starred Whoopi Goldberg, is in the works at Disney, with Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith and Karen McCullah (Legally Blonde and The House Bunny) writing the script. It is not known whether Goldberg will appear in any capacity in the remake, which is expected to feature a new lead.

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The Warriors: The 1965 novel became a feature-length film in 1979 under the direction of Walter Hill, now a cult classic, featuring an ensemble cast including several black actors like Dorsey Wright and David Harris. Paramount TV and Hulu tapped Joe and Anthony Russo (the Captain America movies) to direct a TV adaptation of The Warriors, with writer Frank Baldwin scripting what will be an hour-long weekly drama series. No other information is available at this time.

Spawn: Creator Todd McFarlane has inked a deal with Blumhouse (the producer of Get Out) to bring Spawn back to the big screen. However, this reboot will be different from the 1997 movie that starred Michael Jai White; specifically, the lead role this time will not be Spawn himself; it will be a cop, hunting Spawn. No casting has been announced yet. No release date either.

As mentioned at the top of this post, this list will be updated as new information is made available.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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