The Evans family is heading to the silver screen. Sony Pictures is adapting Good Times into a feature film. The movie studio tapped Shaft producer Scott Rubin and Wreck It Ralph co-writer Phil Johnston to head the project.
Good Times, which aired on CBS from 1974 through 1979, was a groundbreaking sitcom centering on James and Florida Evans, a working-poor couple raising their three children in a Chicago housing project. The weekly show chronicled the collective and individual struggles of the family and their neighbors, including Florida’s closest friend, Willona Woods, as they battled everything from gangs to picket lines. It was one of several controversial shows created by legendary television writer and producer Norman Lear. He used television to raise awareness of social injustices, so Good Times was designed to push the envelope. His other shows included All in the Family and Maude.
The Evanses will still struggle through tumultuous race relations, unemployment and easy credit rip-offs in the movie. Johnston and his writing team are setting the movie in the 1960s. There are plenty of potential topics to cover, including the politically charged assassinations of civil-rights leaders, the fight for integration and other issues prevalent during that time.
A plot synopsis has not been released, so several questions are unanswered: Will Penny be a featured character? Will James Evans die? Will the family escape the ghetto? None of that is certain, but one thing is: JJ Evans will be offering his signature catchphrase, “Dy-no-mite!”
Good Times is a beloved classic in the African-American community. The sitcom still airs daily on TVOne and is a household staple for many families. Expectations are high. Good Times must capture the beauty of the characters and their tribulations, or we’ll all be screaming Florida’s infamous line, “Damn, damn, damn!”
No word on whether surviving original cast members, including Jimmie Walker, will be offered roles in the movie adaptation. A release date has yet to be announced.