While NBA superstar LeBron James continues to develop a long-gestating sequel to Space Jam, another current NBA star is working on a new basketball-themed remake. Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is teaming up with the NBA's Blake Griffin and NFL star Ryan Kalil for a remake of the 1992 comedy film White Men Can't Jump. While the title for the original is actually a line in the film, delivered by Wesley Snipes' Sidney Deane to Woody Harrelson's Billy Hoyle, about his inability to dunk, it's quite ironic that Blake Griffin is producing, since he is a white man that can jump, winning the NBA Slam Dunk contest in 2011.
The Hollywood Reporter reveals that Kenya Barris will write the screenplay and produce this sports remake, which will fall under the overall deal he signed with 20th Century Fox last September. Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil will produce under their Mortal Media company, along with their partner Noah Weinstein. The project does not have a director attached at this time, and it wasn't revealed if the studio has a production start or a release date that they're eyeing.
The original White Men Can't Jump was set in Los Angeles, following a pair of basketball hustlers, Sidney Deane and Billy Hoyle, who team up when Billy gets in trouble, owing money to a pair of ruthless gangsters. The supporting cast includes Rosie Perez, Tyra Ferrell, Kadeem Hardison, Ernest Harden Jr. and John Marshall Jones. Ron Shelton (Bull Durham) directed White Men Can't Jump from his own screenplay, with the movie earning $76.2 million domestically during its theatrical run in 1992. When adjusted for inflation, that total equals a $156.3 million run today.
Pro athletes Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil are building an intriguing slate through their Mortal Media company, which is highlighted by their Rocketeer remake, which made headlines last year. The project has been described as a "sequel-reboot," with this story set in the Cold War, featuring an African-American female pilot in the Rocketeer suit, not the Cliff Secord character from the original. Mortal Media is also producing an untitled comedy project for NBC, which is being written by brothers Matthew and Daniel Libman, who previously served as writer-producers on ABC's Happy Endings. Blake Griffin also serves as an executive producer on an animated comedy pilot presentation for Fox entitled Okies of Bel Air, which is inspired by certain elements of Blake Griffin's life.
Kenya Barris is best known for his work on the small screen, creating, writing and producing ABC's hit sitcom Black-ish. On the big screen, he co-wrote and produced the comedy sequel Barbershop: The Next Cut, and we reported last year that he is also writing the script for a theatrical adaptation of the hit series Good Times. The filmmaker is also developing another remake of Shaft for New Line Cinema at this time, but it remains to be seen which of these projects will come out of development and into production first. Hopefully we'll learn more about the White Men Can't Jump remake in the very near future.