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The origin story of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, the pioneering comedians whose 1978 film Up in Smoke has transcended cult status, is getting its own big-screen treatment.
Todd Lieberman’s Hidden Pictures is partnering with Marin and Chong, Underground and Five All in the Fifth Entertainment on a feature biopic about the comedy duo.
Cheech and Chong came to prominence in the ’70s and ’80s, becoming synonymous with stoner culture by riffing on and lifting up the counterculture of the time, from hippies to (of course) cannabis. Their combined output included successful stand-up shows, comedy albums and low-budget feature films, including Up in Smoke, Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie (1980) and Nice Dreams (1981).
Kristian Mercado, who most recently made his feature debut with the 2023 South by Southwest entry If You Were Last, will direct from a screenplay by Danya Jimenez and Hannah McMechan.
The Oscar-winning Lieberman will produce with Alex Young via Hidden Pictures, which snagged an Emmy for Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers and recently released Shotgun Wedding on Amazon. Underground’s Trevor Engelson (Snowfall) and Douglas Banker of Five All in the Fifth Entertainment, the nonfiction and film outfit with credits like Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James, will also produce.
Marin, who worked with Hidden Pictures for Shotgun Wedding, and Chong will executive produce along with David Glickman.
“We are excited to show the world how two dudes from completely different backgrounds got together, changed comedy and made cannabis mainstream!” said Marin and Chong.
“Working with Cheech and Chong is a childhood dream of mine,” added Engelson. “I used to listen to my father’s copy of their albums growing up, so to help bring their incredible true story to a new generation of fans is a real honor.”
Mercado, repped by UTA, Redefine Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham, has directed comedy specials by Michael Che, Hannibal Burress and Ilana Glazer, among others. He is currently co-writing and producing a reboot of the Aeon Flux property for Paramount+.
Jimenez and McMechan are repped by Verve, Mosaic and Brecheen Feldman, and are currently writing K-Pop Demon Hunters for Sony Pictures Animation and developing their Black List script Luna Likes as a feature with Macro. Most recently, they were writers on the Comedy Central reboot of Ren & Stimpy.
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