Jun 23, 2015

Tradecraft: New Regency Makes Second Attempt at a Mr. & Mrs. Smith TV Show... This Time as a Reality Series

Back in 2007, ABC ordered a one-hour drama pilot from New Regency based on Doug Liman's blockbuster 2005 Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie film Mr. & Mrs. Smith. The successful team behind the movie was also behind that TV version, with Liman (The Bourne Identity, Fair Game) directing and Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes, X-Men: Days of Future Past) scripting. Married assassins Mr. and Mrs. Smith were reinterpreted as married spies (not difficult, since the movie traded heavily on classic spy iconography), with Jordanna Brewster (The Fast and the Furious) playing the Jolie part and Martin Henderson (Secrets & Lies) stepping into Pitt's shoes. The network ended up passing on the series, and it was shopped elsewhere, but ultimately failed to find a home.

Now, according to Deadline, New Regency is trying again at adapting the movie to television, but with a major twist. This time, teaming with unscripted production company 3 Ball Entertainment, they are doing it as a reality series. According to the trade, the competition show "will feature married couples that compete in a high-octane, high-stakes game, with the producers offering no further details." In the film, Pitt and Jolie each discover that their spouse is, like them, a professional assassin, and that they have each been tasked with eliminating the other, sparking a fierce, over-the-top battle of the sexes. A reality gameshow based on that concept just might work, if it's done properly.

New Regency has been eager to reactivate this brand for a long time. Besides the failed scripted series, they've also attempted to get a movie sequel off the ground (in which the Smiths were to have a child), and failing that, a theatrical reboot just five years after the first movie, which would have focused on a different couple, in their twenties, set up as a fake married couple straight out of spy school. Personally, I'd still love to see Pitt and Jolie reunite for a proper sequel under Liman's direction. It could actually be even more fun ten years later.

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