Variety reports that the film, picked up way, way back in 2002 by Warner Bros. as a starring vehicle for Will Smith, will now be getting a fresh re-write courtesy of Tim Dowling ("Role Models," "Just Go With It"). The film is a revamp of the 1974 Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier comedy about two pals who head uptown to track down the crooks who stole their winning lottery ticket. It was one of the first comedies to feature black lead actors and the film was a crossover commercial hit. And Will Smith is still attached after all this time, and now Denzel Washington is being linked as a potential co-star.
David Dobkin ("Wedding Crashers"), long attached to direct, is still on board and apparently the new film will diverge a bit storywise from the original. Not only that, it has franchise potential. Back in 2002, the rights to the film's two sequels "Let's Do It Again" and "A Piece of the Action" were also picked up so this has the potential for being a new tentpole for Smith who is currently attempting to wrap up "Men In Black 3" despite the ongoing delays and script problems.
However, it should be noted this is just one of many projects brewing for Smith. He's also got the magic realist drama “The City That Sailed,” is potentially teaming with Kathryn Bigelow and Tom Hanks on “Triple Frontier,” has a revisionist take on Robin Hood with The Wachowskis, the vampire tale “The Legend of Cain," and a retelling of the biblical tale of Job. So no guarantee that Smith will even take 'Uptown' next or if the rewrite will suit him. He's likely getting a fresh spin on it to see if it's something he'll want to pursue.
But, it's a been awhile since we've seen Smith relaxed and funny on the big screen, and we'd definitely welcome Washington stepping out of the scowl he's been wearing for the past few films to do something a bit looser. And with Dobkin at the helm, there are definitely some intriguing possibilities and directions for this film to go in.