White Men Can’t Jump is being remade. Let’s just get that little bit of surprise out of the way. It’s shocking not because the original is the Citizen Kane of sports movies and should be considered untouchable for a remake, but because it’s a movie that was so, so very specific to the time in which it came out. It’s one of the most unapologetically ’90s movies ever. Its sense of humor, its cast, its soundtrack, the editing, the cinematography, the hats (!) — every frame of it is 1992 dialed to 11.
So it’s not that White Men Can’t Jump can’t be remade — its plot of street-hustler basketball players uniting together is pretty evergreen — it’s more that it’s like a treasure so encased in the cultural sap of the ’90s that we should all just look at it through the amber glow of time. It would take a bold visionary to drill into that amber and try to extract DNA for a new generation. And thankfully for all of us, it’s got one such visionary in Kenya Barris, the smart, funny creator of the smart, funny sitcom Black-ish. If we’re going to trust anyone with a White Men Can’t Jump remake, it’s him.
The Hollywood Reporter says Barris won’t be alone, though. He’s also got sports stars Blake Griffin and Ryan Kalil on board to produce through their production company, Mortal Media. They’re the two who have also already laid claim to a remake of The Rocketeer. So at the very least, we know they’ve got great taste in movies.
There’s no word on whom will be the new Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, but there’s plenty of time to figure that out. The movie doesn’t even have a director yet. But given the names already involved, we’ve gone from “Why would you ever remake White Men Can’t Jump?” to “Huh, I’m strangely excited for that White Men Can’t Jump remake.”
As far as Rosie Perez’s scene-stealing role, that’ll be difficult to recast. When asked recently about a remake, Perez told Cinemablend:
“Some classics you shouldn’t touch. Some films should be remade. I don’t think there’s a necessity to remake White Men Can’t Jump. But quite honestly, I’m kind of flattered. I am. Because there’s, you know… that means it had a certain importance to somebody or whomever, to say, ‘Let’s do this again.’ But that’s tricky, because White Men Can’t Jump was all about chemistry. Chemistry and timing, you know? Even the audition — the reason why I got the film, the director was like, he goes, ‘You two look like you’re going to make out. My God, enough!’ And we both started laughing and stuff. But it was chemistry.”