Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Adam McKay is in negotiations to develop to direct Uptown Saturday Night, the Warner Bros remake that the studio hopes will star Will Smith and Denzel Washington. Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment has been developing the project. Tim Dowling wrote the most recent draft.

The idea is for McKay to helm after he completes a sequel to Anchorman, the Will Ferrell-starrer Paramount has set for an early 2013 start and 2014 release. McKay and Ferrell wrote that script and Judd Apatow is producing. McKay most recently helmed The Other Guys, and before that Talladega Nights. He’s repped by WME.

The 1974 comedy starred Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier as pals who visit an illegal nightclub, and are forced to hand over their wallets to thieves. Turns out one of them contains a winning lottery ticket, emboldening the duo to bump up against the criminal element to get back the wallet. There are plenty of remakes that elicit groans. If this package comes together (Smith and Washington have long wanted to work together), with McKay’s comic sensibility, this redo could be exceptional. The original cast was lined with the likes of Harry Belafonte, Flip Wilson and Richard Pryor, and the remake could follow suit by star-casting the supporting roles.

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