Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Kyrie Irving hinted at an "Uncle Drew" movie back in October, and now it's official: Pepsi is going to "fully fund development" for a feature-length feature about Irving's alter ego, per Variety:
Sources tell Variety that Temple Hill Entertainment has acquired the feature film rights to Irving's "Uncle Drew" Pepsi commercials. "Skiptrace" scribe Jay Longino is set to write the script and Irving is attached to reprise the role of Drew.
Temple Hill's Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, and John Fischer will produce the film, described as a love letter to basketball. The original Pepsi Max advertisements showed Irving, in full make-up, playing a 70-plus-year-old man, Drew, who would show up to pick-up basketball games and school kids half his age, while also reminiscing about how the game used to be played.
Described as "Blues Brothers" in the pick-up basketball world, Longino's pitch shows Drew and his old squad on the legendary Rucker Park basketball court in Harlem. Years later Drew is talked into returning to the courts to compete in a tournament and goes on a road trip to round the old squad up to play.
Longino said he took inspiration from the commercials and began building a story that he hoped would make people excited, but also hopefully "inspire them to not let things like their age, or their size, or their past failures limit what they're capable of accomplishing."
Pepsi also was game for Longino and Temple Hill's idea for the movie, so much so that they are planning to fully fund development of the project while producers begin packaging the elements to take out to studios. As for Irving, winning another championship with Cavaliers is still his top priority. But Longino said has still taken the time to give his input on where he would like the character to go.
I liked the original commercial as much as anybody ... in 2012. Irving looked like a realistic old guy, and even though this seemed like a Johnny Knoxville rip-off, it worked. The reactions of the other streetball players seemed genuine, and it allowed the Cavs star to come off as "funny" without telling any real jokes.
My one gripe about it: It was too long. This could been a tight, three-minute video. Five minutes seemed a bit much. At no point did I think I wanted a 90-minute version, especially after Pepsi released several sequels to the first viral hit. I wonder if anybody really wanted a 90-minute version.
Anyway, this movie is being written, and Irving is apparently excited to star in it. For his sake, I hope it turns out better than that television show about the GEICO cavemen.