‘Uptown Saturday Night’ Remake Finds Its Lead & Director

August 2, 2018

In 1975, during the era of blaxploitation, legendary Academy Award winner Sidney Poitier decided to it was time to break the mold on stereotypical Black men being presented in Hollywood. Throughout his career, Poitier was frustrated with how the industry was trying to portray the black man in film and television; leading him to direct his own films during the era. In his third directorial project, the Oscar winner teamed up with comedian and actor, Bill Cosby and Harry Belafonte to bring the action comedy crime film, Uptown Saturday Night to life.

In the film, Blue-collar buddies (Poitier, Cosby), while out at a club on Saturday Night, are held up by robber who raid the club and end up taking Steve’s wallet. The pair soon after realize that within the wallet is a lottery ticket worth $50,000 and become determined to get it back at any cost. With the help of gangster Geechie Dan Beauford (Belafonte), they must search the underworld for the winning ticket. In a film filled with verbal wit, economical symbolism, racial discussion, and liberal sexuality; it quickly joined the list of top 50 highest grossing films at #3, just three months after its release. Poitier would later go on to direct two more indirect sequels (Let's Do It Again and A Piece of the Action), starring a few of the same cast members but in different roles.


Jump forward four decades and now we may be gearing up for the longingly anticipated remake. In 2002, it was announced that Will Smith and his production company, Overbrook Entertainment, had secured the rights to the trilogy for remakes to star Smith. Smith expressed that he desired to get the likes of Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence and other famous African-American to star in the film, falling in line with the structure of its predecessor. 


In 2012, it was reported that Adam McKay (Step Brothers, The Other Guys) will direct the remake, based on a script by screenwriter Tim Dowling (Just Go with It), with Smith and Denzel Washington in the leads. However, due to busy schedules for both A-listers, Smith was forced to serve as a producer on the project instead; allowing actor/comedian Kevin Hart to be cast as his replacement. “Black-ish” creator Kenya Barris has been tasked with writing the most recent draft and, as of yesterday, Deadline has confirmed that Girls Trip filmmaker Malcolm D. Lee is in talks to direct the remake. There is no news yet of who else will be rounding out the cast or who in fact Hart will be portraying, however many have high hopes for this heavily anticipated franchise.

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