LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Emboldened by his acclaimed box office hit “The Pursuit of Happyness,” Will Smith will revisit the rags-to-redemption motif.
He will produce a movie based on Jeff Henderson’s drug dealer-turned-star chef memoir “Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, From Cocaine to Foie Gras,” which was optioned by Columbia Pictures. It is not yet clear if Smith will also star.
“Cooked” chronicles the transformation of Henderson -- a.k.a. Chef Jeff -- from ex-con to executive chef at the Cafe Bellagio in Las Vegas. He learned the art of gourmet cooking while serving a prison sentence for dealing crack cocaine.
“Cooked” was published February 20 by William Morrow.
Smith will produce with James Lassiter, his production partner in Overbrook Entertainment, and with Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal of production company Escape Artists. The quartet also produced “Happyness,” which earned Smith a best actor Oscar nomination and has grossed nearly $288 million worldwide. Columbia also distributed that film.
Lassiter praised Henderson as “truly inspiring.” He added, “After meeting him, I knew we had to turn his story into a movie.”