In 1977 two movies ruled the box office: Star Wars and Smokey and the Bandit. One movie launched a cultural juggernaut that lasted straight through 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Smokey, which firmly established Burt Reynolds as a comedic leading man, faded a bit from memory but it’s still a goofball comedy classic and the filmmaker’s decision to embed the cast’s hilarious bloopers in the credits is still inspiring imitations.
Current comedy leading lights Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) and Danny McBride—his Eastbound and Down took its title from the Jerry Reed song made famous by the Smokey movies—have shown appreciation for Smokey and its ensuing sequels in 1980 and ’83 with plans to reboot the franchise for TV, reports THR.
More from The Hollywood Reporter:
David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Eastbound & Down) and frequent collaborator Brian Sides (Alaska: The Last Frontier) are re-teaming to co-write a new take on the 1977 Southern adventure pic. Fellow Green cohorts Danny McBride, Jody Hill and Brandon James of Rough House Pictures will also exec produce the potential series alongside Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins and their Fuzzy Door banner. Green will also direct the potential pilot.
The new take is inspired by the genre of ’70s and ’80s drive-in double features, with the potential series exploring the crossroads where humble realities meet those larger-than-life, all in a blast of tailpipe exhaust.
Is the time right for such a reboot? Maybe. It does sound like David Gordon Green is the man for the job. THR quotes the Arkansas native as saying “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.”
This Movie House Memories synopsis for the original movie gives a good idea as to what we’re in for:
Bandit [Reynolds] and the Snowman take a job for $80,000 from Big and Little Enos to bring 400 cases of Coors from Texarkana, Texas to a big party they are throwing in Atlanta, Georgia in 28 hours. Picking it up is…the easy part.
As they leave Texas, Bandit picks up a hitchhiking bride-to-be named Frog. She just left her groom, Junior, at the altar who is the son of Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Now Buford and Junior discover go on a “high-speed pursuit” across several states to catch the Bandit, and bring Frog back to Junior.
Jackie Gleason played Sheriff Buford T. Justice and the comedy icon’s blustery delivery turned some of his lines, like “What we’re dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law,” or “…Soon as I get home, first thing I’m gonna do is punch your mama in the mouth!” into the closest thing the ’80s had to memes: Buttons bearing those quotes on middle school kids’ Members Only jackets.
With its gleeful celebration of lawbreaking in the interest of beer and low-key anti-authority vibe, the timing might actually be perfect for a new Smokey and the Bandit.