David Gordon Green is developing a series adaptation of “Smokey and the Bandit” for UCP, the studio announced Wednesday.
The project, based on the 1977 film starring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field, is described as “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 explores the crossroads where humble realities meet those larger-than-life, all in a blast of tailpipe exhaust.”
Green will direct the pilot and co-write with Brian Sides. Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins of Fuzzy Door will executive produce under their overall deal with UCP, alongside Green, Danny McBride, Jody Hill and Brandon James of Rough House Pictures.
In a statement, Green linked the project to his experience growing up in Texas. “Growing up in the south, ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ was an iconic franchise for me,” he said. “The legacy of these characters is a playground of swagger and sass that I’m excited to dig into.”
Added Huggins, “When UCP mentioned ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ we were immediately drawn to it. 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.”
Directed by Hal Needham, “Smokey and the Bandit” starred Reynolds as Bo “Bandit” Darville, a Trans Am-driving bootlegger who becomes a target of the local sheriff (played by Jackie Gleason) after linking up with a runaway bride (Field). The film spawned two sequels, as well as a series of made-for-TV movies starring Brian Bloom as a younger version of the character.