EXCLUSIVE: Westbrook Studios and Davis Entertainment have entered development on Summertime, a hip-hop musical based on Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s song of the same name, which Peter Saji will write and direct for Sony Pictures’ Screen Gems, in his feature debut.
“Summertime” was the lead single on DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s fourth studio album, Homebase, and won the collaborators a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. Since its release back in May of 1991, the song has endured as a beloved summer anthem. Sony Music controls the main recording, with Sony/ATV holding publishing rights outside of the U.S.
For now, Summertime’s plot is being kept under wraps. Smith and Jon Mone will produce for Westbrook Studios, alongside Davis Entertainment’s John Davis, John Fox and Jeremy Stein, and Screen Gems’ Giselle Johnson. Ryan Shimazaki will oversee the project on behalf of Westbrook.
Saji previously served as a writer and EP on ABC’s Golden Globe winner Black-ish, and was responsible for two of the series’ acclaimed musical episodes: “Juneteenth” and “Purple Rain.” He also co-created and writes on its ABC spin-off, Mixed-ish.
Westbrook Studios is a subsidiary of Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Miguel Melendez and Ko Yada’s media company Westbrook Inc., which launched in 2019. Saji’s first feature joins a slate there that includes a Planes, Trains & Automobiles remake starring Smith and Kevin Hart, Apple’s Antoine Fuqua thriller Emancipation, Warner Bros.’ 2022 Oscar contender King Richard, sports drama Redd Zone, starring Jada Pinkett Smith, and the recently announced live-action musical fantasy pic, Soul Superhero. Upcoming TV projects from the company include Peacock’s Fresh Prince reboot, Bel-Air, Disney+ adventure series Welcome to Earth, and the fourth season of Netflix’s Emmy-nominated Cobra Kai.
Founded by John Davis in 1984, Davis Entertainment most recently produced Disney’s Jungle Cruise pic, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. The company is currently in production on a Predator origin movie for 20th Century Studios and Hulu; The Uglies, based on the best-selling book series, with McG directing and Joey King starring for Netflix; and Zachary Levi starrer Harold and the Purple Crayon, which Carlos Saldanha is helming for Sony Pictures. They’re currently at work on the TV side on a pilot titled Getaway for NBC, along with other projects that have yet to be announced.
Saji is represented by UTA, TFC Management, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller.