Showtime’s ‘The Wood’ Comedy Pilot Will Nod Back to the 1999 Movie
The pilot for Showtime's The Wood, based on the 1999 feature film of the same name, has been announced.
During its virtual TCA presentation on August 24, 2021, the premium television network confirmed the details, revealing Justin Hillian, Rick Famuyiwa, and Paramount Television Studios as the creators.
Famuyiwa, who co-wrote and directed the original movie, will direct the series and executive produce with Hillian, who will also pen the script. The other executive producers are David Gale and Van Toffler.
Similarly, Showtime's sibling production company Paramount Television Studios is the studio for the project.
The pilot's plot revolves around the perspective of three young black males, born and raised in the gentrifying L.A. suburb of Inglewood, towards friendship and dating.
They also experience the struggles of balancing fatherhood, ambition, and loyalty. This makes them question if they are growing apart or closer together.
The romantic comedy is said to be a “nod back” at the characters of the 1999 film, but since it is set in the present-day, new complications, such as social media, will presumably add problems for the trio, as well as the women in their lives.
'The Wood' Is a Coming-of-Age Story for Black Men
Even after two decades of its release, The Wood remains a defining coming-of-age story for black men. Films in the 90s generally depicted black men in roles associated with drugs, gangs, violence, or a mix of all three.
But Famuyiwa's directorial venture portrayed a bond between black men that wasn't solely based on the crime happening around them. Instead, the film, as hinted earlier, showed how those men handle the complications in their friendship and love life.
"[The film] was a clear depiction of what life is like for me, as a Black man, and things that we have to struggle with, [but] from a fun perspective," Vice reported a quote from Asa Mack, who is a 38-year-old higher education professional from North Carolina who still has the film on DVD.
"It really showed the various things that Black men do from adolescence and how you often keep those same friends."
The film's lead cast included Omar Epps as Mike, Richard T. Jones as Slim, and Taye Diggs as Roland Blackmon. Other cast members were Sanaa Lathan, LisaRaye McCoy, De'Aundre Bonds, Malinda Williams, Trent Cameron, Duane Finley, and Sean Nelson.
Creators of 'The Wood' Pilot
Famuyiwa, who will direct the pilot, was raised in Inglewood, the same city the film, as well as the series' story, is based in. The award-winning director has also directed HBO’s Confirmation and wrote the screenplay for 2007’s Talk To Me — earning NAACP Image Awards for both projects.
His other film projects as writer and director are Our Family Wedding and Brown Sugar. In addition, he serves as an executive producer of The Chi, which he also directed.
In addition, he won the African-American Film Critics Association award for Best Screenplay for his 2015's directorial film Dope. For television, he shared a WGA Award nomination for The Mandalorian.
Similarly, The Wood's executive producer and writer Hillian has served as showrunner on The Chi since the beginning of the third season. His other television credits include I’m Dying Up Here and Superstore.
He has also received a Black Reel Awards nomination for Outstanding Writing, Drama Series for his work on crime series Snowfall.