EXCLUSIVE: Jay Longino, who penned the upcoming Lionsgate comedy Uncle Drew toplined by NBA star Kyrie Irving, Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery, has been set to adapt The Smart Money, a TV series in development based on Michael Konik’s 2006 memoir about about life inside one of Las Vegas and the world’s most sought after gambling rings. OBB Pictures optioned rights to the book last fall and is producing with 3 Arts Entertainment.
In the book Konik, a journalist, unfolds his story of landing an interview with one of Las Vegas’ most prolific sports betters, unknowingly becoming a patsy working in his gambling ring, eventually wagering hundreds of thousands of dollars on a given day and as much as $1 million on one event. OBB and 3 Arts plan to shop the half-hour dramedy series to cable and streaming services.
Longino will now also executive produce with OBB president and CEO Michael D. Ratner, Scott Ratner and Eric D. Cohen and 3 Arts’ Michael Rotenberg and Jonathan Berry. OBB’s Matthew Hirschhorn and Kfir Goldberg will co-executive produce.
“Who knew that when I pawned my trusty Honda Accord in the parking lot of a Vegas hotel to bet on the 1999 Orange Bowl, it was actually advance research and a potential tax write-off?” Longino said. “The book is so rife with colorful characters and incredible stories that I immediately knew I wanted to adapt it. And meeting with Michael Ratner and the rest of his team at OBB and 3 Arts only solidified that feeling.”
The scribe, whose credits also include co-writing the Jackie Chan-Johnny Knoxville starrer Skiptrace, has his own graphic novel adaptation Son of Shaolin set up at Sony with Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions; that one recently set Rick Famuyiwa to direct. He also recently sold a comedy pitch to Paramount Players set in the world of West Coast hip-hop.
OBB recently wrapped Season 2 of its original web series Cold as Balls starring Kevin Hart after Season 1 of the sports interview show has drawn 70 million views since launching in February.
“Since OBB optioned the book from Konik we’ve been waiting for that perfect writer to come along and I knew we had our guy when I sat down with this amazingly talented writer and former degenerate,” Michael D. Ratner said. “On a serious note, we couldn’t be more excited to have Jay on board and bring this project to the small screen.”
Longino is repped by Verve, Activist and attorney Todd Rubenstein.