Helmer taking a ‘Cab’ ride

'Barbershop's' Story to drive Playtone ensemble

Tim Story, director of sleeper hit “Barbershop,” is being dispatched to helm Universal Pictures’ “Society Cab” — a drama based on the real-life exploits of the last black-owned, black-run taxi company in Miami-Dade County.

Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s U-based Playtone shingle will produce the pic, originally penned by David Mills. A TV scribe whose most recent credits include the Peacock’s new crime drama “Kingpin,” Mills also wrote on venerable skeins “ER” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

Ensemble pic centers on a 50-year-old cab company that Story calls “the only means of safe transportation” in the more dangerous parts of Miami-Dade.

Story said the appeal of Mills’ script was its larger-than-life characters who drive the unsafe area, minding residents’ children and even policing it themselves, knowing the cops will show up long after they do. One character in the script is based on real-life cabdriver Franklin “Dark N Lovely” Scott, who was shot at nine times on the job in one year alone.

“Society” is being overseen by U’s senior veepee of production Holly Bario, reporting to co-prexy Mary Parent. Project is being overseen for Hanks and Goetzman by Playtone’s Diana Choi.

For now, no discussions have taken place about Hanks taking a role in the pic, which follows a newspaper reporter who becomes a cabbie to write a feature story for the Miami Herald. Still, Story says the door “is being left open for him. We’ll write a small part for him, and I’ll beg on my hands and knees that he do it,” he laughed.

The WMA-repped Story, who is developing a sequel to MGM’s “Barbershop,” is also attached to DreamWorks comedy “Date School” — though it’s unclear which pic would lense first. “Society” will soon go out to screenwriters for a polish, which Story will oversee.

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