Network to adapt Pitt-Jolie film for TV

ABC has greenlit production on “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” a small-screen take on the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie feature.

Doug Liman and Simon Kinberg are reprising their roles as helmer and scribe, respectively. Liman, Kinberg and Dave Bartis will exec produce.

Regency TV will produce the pilot in association with Bartis and Liman’s Dutch Oven Prods.

The Alphabet has been developing its “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” for a while, ordering a script for the project nearly a year ago (Daily Variety, Jan. 31). Project had always been eyed as a fall 2007 contender, however.

Liman and Kinberg are working on New Regency pic “Jumper,” and Kinberg delayed writing the TV script until just a few months ago, when he and Liman had a break in the production of that film.

“ABC has been amazing in terms of giving us time for development,” Kinberg said, adding the plan is now to lense the pilot in March, once “Jumper” wraps.

As in the movie, ABC’s “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” will revolve around two married assassins. Action will pick up about six months after the movie left off. “It’s essentially ‘Married … With Children’ with guns,” Kinberg said. “The show takes all the marital issues a couple has and blows them up to action-genre size.”

So rather than fight about who forgot to pack the toothpaste, “They’ll bicker over someone forgetting to pack the detonator,” he said.

Kinberg said the tone of the pilot is more comedic than the feature and possibly a bit darker as well.

Casting will be key, since Pitt and Jolie won’t be reprising their roles. Kinberg said he, Liman and Bartis want to look at both known and unknown thesps. “We have to find two people who can make the show their own,” he said.

This isn’t the first time TV has done “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” In 1996, Scott Bakula and Maria Bello starred in a CBS skein of the same name with a similar plot; it lasted less than two months.

On the TV front, Liman and Bartis most recently exec produced the NBC drama “Heist.” Liman helmed the pilot for “The OC.”

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