“Never have so few owed so much to so many,” declared Silky Slim, the top gangster in the Geechie Dan, played by Calvin Lockhart in the 1974 crime comedy Uptown Saturday Night. The film was directed by Sidney Poitier, who costarred with Bill Cosby and included comedy legends Flip Wilson as The Reverend and Richard Pryor as Sharp Eye Washington. Kevin Hart will star in the remake, and Malcolm D. Lee, who made Girls Trip, is in is in early negotiations to direct, according to Variety.
Uptown Saturday Night had been in development as a possible pairing for Denzel Washington and Will Smith, who is producing the film for Warner Bros. with his Overbrook Entertainment partner James Lassiter. The most recent draft of the screenplay was written by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris.
Lee’s Girls Trip pulled in $140 million last summer. He also made Barbershop: The Next Cut and The Best Man Holiday. Hart most recently starred in Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which earned $960 million at the box office. He will next star opposite Tiffany Haddish in the comedy Night School for Universal. Hart and Lee previously collaborated on the upcoming comedy Night School. Coming out from Universal, it opens in September.
Uptown Saturday Night, which was written by Richard Wesley, was the first of Poitier and Cosby’s trilogy of films which included Let’s Do It Again (1975) and A Piece of the Action (1977). The film also starred Harry Belafonte, Rosalind Cash, Roscoe Lee Browne, Paula Kelly and Lee Chamberlin as Madame Zenobia. It is Zenobia’s club which is robbed by the gang, who doesn’t know they also stole a winning lottery ticket.
There has been no release date set yet for Uptown Saturday Night.
Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.
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