Kevin Hart will produce and likely star in an English-language remake of the Korean box office sensation Extreme Job for Universal Pictures, it was announced on Monday.
There’s no director attached yet, but Girls Trip scribe Tracy Oliver will write the script and produce alongside Hart and Francis Chung of CJ Entertainment, which produced the original film. Jerry Ko will serve as an executive producer, while CJ’s Fred Lee and Ini Chung will co-produce and oversee development for the company. Carli Haney will oversee the project on behalf of Hart’s HartBeat Productions.
Extreme Job follows a team of narcotics detectives who go undercover in a fried chicken joint to stake out an organized crime gang. Things take an unexpected turn when the detectives’ chicken recipe suddenly transforms the rundown restaurant into the hottest spot in town. The film has grossed the equivalent of $127 million in Korea, making it the highest-grossing film in Korean box office history.
I’ll be curious to see how that premise translates to a big studio comedy, but if Hart likes the source material and thinks there’s comedic gold to mine from it, who am I to argue? I mean, it worked for Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah on Taxi, didn’t it? That’s a bad example, of course, as I could have just as easily pointed to Hart’s own remake of the French blockbuster The Intouchables, since against all odds, The Upside is currently the 7th-highest grossing film at the domestic box office this year, taking in $108 million stateside. That speaks to how universal its themes were, and likewise, Hart said he thinks Extreme Job offers something for audiences around the world.
Don’t forget that Universal and CJ Entertainment are already working with Hart and his company to develop the female-driven dramedy Bye, Bye, Bye, based on the hit 2011 Korean film Sunny. Amy Aniobi is already writing the script for that English-language remake, though that project wouldn’t feature Hart front-and-center the way Extreme Job would, should Hart spark to a role in Oliver’s screenplay.
Hart recently co-wrote, produced and starred in last year’s hit comedy Night School, and he’s set to return in a pair of upcoming sequels that will no doubt made waves at the box office — The Secret Life of Pets 2 and the next Jumanji movie. Hart is represented by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment, while Oliver is repped by ICM Partners and Artists First.