Another day, another classic movie being turned into a modern TV series. Or is it classic TV series they’re always turning into modern movies? Either way, old stuff is back! In this case, that old stuff being classic Burt Reynolds action-comedy Smokey and the Bandit, which is being rebooted as a TV series.
The original 1977 film was directed by stuntman Rob Needham and followed Reynold’s Bo “Bandit” Darville and Jerry Reed’s Cledus “Snowman” Snow as a bootlegging duo smuggling 400 cases of beer from Texarkana, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia. Snowman drives the truck transporting the booze, while Bandit runs interference with the law in his Pontiac Trans Am (with Sally Field’s Carrie riding shotgun), which is needed as the pair get hunted by a relentless Texas Sherrif. Just how much of that makes it into the new series is unclear as Deadline reports that the show will be “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.”
If you don’t know what any of that means, don’t worry you’re not alone. What I do know though, is that there’s some serious talent behind this new adaptation as it’s coming from David Gordon Green, the writer/director of the very good 2018 Halloween revival. So yes, he definitely knows what he’s doing when it comes to breathing new life into old franchises. He’s also a Texas native and indicates that “Growing up in the south, Smokey and the Bandit was an iconic franchise for me. The legacy of these characters is a playground of swagger and sass that I’m excited to dig into”.
Green actually made his name on TV with comedy series such as Eastbound and Down with frequent partner Danny McBride who co-wrote/produced Halloween with him. As for the Smokey and the Bandit series, McBride will only exec produce while Green will co-write the series with Brian Sides, a documentary director/producer who hasn’t really worked in narrative TV before. Green will also direct the pilot episode of the show.
Upon release, the original film got a mixed critical reception but audiences loved it for its fun tone and fantastic car stunts. Working off a budget of just $4 million, Smokey and the Bandit earned a whopping $300 million worldwide to become the second-highest grossing film of 1977 behind Star Wars. The film has continued to be massively beloved since. That’s quite the legacy to live up to, but Erica Huggins – who is exec-producing through production company UCP – explained that they were “immediately drawn” to Green’s take on this classic.
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
We’ll have to wait and see if that will really be the case. With this still being super early in the development cycle, we may need to wait a while.
Last Updated: October 23, 2020