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'Cooked' in oven at Columbia


Following in the footsteps of the critical and boxoffice hit "The Pursuit of Happyness," Columbia Pictures and Will Smith will revisit the rags-to-redemption motif.

The studio has optioned Jeff Henderson's drug dealer-turned-star chef memoir "Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, From Cocaine to Foie Gras" for Smith's Overbrook Entertainment and Escape Artists.

Overbrook's Smith and James Lassiter will produce alongside Escape Artists' Todd Black and Jason Blumenthal. Steve Tisch also is producing. The quintet also produced "Happyness," which earned Smith a best actor Oscar nomination and has earned nearly $288 million worldwide.

"Cooked" chronicles the transformation of Henderson -- aka Chef Jeff -- from ex-con to executive chef at the Cafe Bellagio in Las Vegas. He learned the art of gourmet cooking while serving a prison sentence for dealing crack cocaine.

"Cooked" was published Feb. 20 by William Morrow.

Lassiter praised Henderson as "truly inspiring." He added, "After meeting him, I knew we had to turn his story into a movie."

Black concurred, saying, "Jason and I couldn't be more excited to not only be working with James and Will again, but to bring this powerful story to life."

Sony's Matt Tolmach, Doug Belgrad and DeVon Franklin are overseeing for the studio.

Henderson is repped by Michael Psaltis of Culinary Cooperative, Joe Regal of Regal Literary and UTA, which brokered the deal with Sony.

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