Smokey and the Bandit was the second biggest hit of 1977, after Star Wars, and not by much. Almost as many people flocked to the space opera about rebels taking on an evil galactic empire as they did the one where good ol’ boy Burt Reynolds simply drives cars real fast, a goofy grin on his face from start to finish. You might be surprised the learn which one Alfred Hitchcock thought was a masterpiece. Despite a handful of derivative sequels, Smokey never had the world building ambition of Star Wars, and the franchise has laid dormant since the early ‘80s. But that’s about to change.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, Smokey is getting revived — and, as is the style of the time, as a TV show. The reboot comes is a kind a tag team effort, combining the forces of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride — who revived another late ’70s genre blockbuster, Halloween, two years back — and Seth MacFarlane, who will serve as executive producer. (Green will write alongside frequent collaborator Brian Sides while McBride will join MacFarlane as executive producer.)
Of course, it’ll be hard to fill the shoes of Burt Reynolds, who died two years ago and who gave perhaps his most relaxed and giddy turn as Smokey, a bootlegger paid a ton of money to smuggle a truckload of Coors across state lines, back when it was illegal for the beer to be sold east of Oklahoma. That part may need to be changed, but no big whoop: Green and company will simply have to find another flimsy excuse to get a redneck hero giving chase to a bunch of bumbling cops. In fact, if any time was ripe for a movie that delights in police driving their cars into ditches and swamps, usually in glorious slo-mo, it’s now.