No (karate) kidding, Daniel-san: Nepotism is alive and well in Hollywood.
A year after Will Smith and his publicist shot down reports that the erstwhile Fresh Prince was working on a remake of Karate Kid starring son Jaden—"certainly not" was the official word—the project is now a go.
According to Variety, Columbia Pictures is waxing on for a remake of the 1984 classic, reworking it as a star vehicle for Jaden Smith, Will and Jada's 10-year-old progeny and his father's costar in The Pursuit of Happyness.
So as not to anger too many dojo loyalists, the new film will follow the formula of bullied youth meets eccentric mentor. Lending some Method to the remake madness, Jaden has already been schooled in martial arts.
The elder Smith is not expected to appear in the film, but will produce. Chris Murphy, the scribe of the original franchise, is writing the new take, which will film in Beijing next year.
The mentor role has yet to be cast. Pat Morita, who played sensei Mr. Miyagi to Ralph Macchio and, lest we forget, Hilary Swank in the original films, died in 2005.
In other casting news:
• America Ferrera knows what's in a name. The Ugly Betty thesp is set to star in and executive produce the big screen drama American Tragic. Per Variety, the film centers on a young war vet who returns to the U.S. and sets off on a cross-country road trip with a friend in search of redemption. Ferrera plays his wife in the pic, set for a fall 2009 release.
• Burn After Reading's Richard Jenkins has signed on to star in Dear John, the latest big screen adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, per the Hollywood Reporter. This time around, the would-be chick flick centers on a young soldier who meets his soul mate while on military leave. Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfriend star in the romantic drama, directed by Lasse Hallstrom.
• Whoopi Goldberg has signed a development deal with Discovery Networks with her production company Whoop Inc. Per Variety, at least one of Goldberg's ideas must be greenlit to series for the Investigation Discovery and Science Channel.