EXCLUSIVE: Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith are near deals to star in Universal Pictures’ Girl Trip for director Malcolm Lee and producer Will Packer. They will join Regina Hall, who was previously announced. It marks the first time the actresses are working together onscreen since 1996’s Set it Off, the cult fave bank robber drama they made with director F. Gary Gray. Scripted by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and Tracy Oliver, the film focuses on four friends who travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, where sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, with some drinking, romancing and even brawling thrown in for good measure. Universal has set it for July 21, 2017 release. It’s a Will Packer Productions release and WPP motion picture head James Lopez is exec producer. Lee last directed for Universal The Best Man Holiday, and most recently helmed Barbershop 3. Sara Scott is overseeing for the studio.
Pinkett Smith and Latifah have been collaborating behind the camera; they produced Secret Life, which stars Latifah, and before they they produced Dear Mama, which Pinkett Smith starred in. They also produce Latifah’s talk show through Overbrook and Flavor Unit. Pinkett Smith moved from the WB series Gotham and most recently completed Bad Moms, which STX Entertainment releases July 29. She is repped by Paradigm, managers Miguel Melendez and James Lassiter, and Sloane, Offer, Weber Dern. Latifah, who most recently co-starred in Sony’s Miracles From Heaven, is repped by CAA, her Flavor Unit partner Shakim Compere, Randi Michel and attorney Stuart Levy.