Cheech & Chong roll toward reunion. New Line has signed the stoner duo to make their first film together in 20 years

By Gary Susman
Updated July 22, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

Better load up on munchies at the concession stand: Cheech & Chong are returning to movie theaters for the first time in 20 years. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the duo have signed with New Line to make a comedy that will update their classic stoner characters to the present day.

Talk of a reunion has been budding for at least six months, since Tommy Chong’s daughters — actress Rae Dawn Chong and her sister Robbi — announced they’d written a script for their dad and his old partner, called ”Cheech & Chong Get Blunt.” The New Line project will be based on a different story, which Chong, Richard ”Cheech” Marin, and another writer will adapt into a screenplay. Robbi Chong will serve as a producer.

Cheech & Chong were riding high in the ’70s and early ’80s with their comedy albums, live performances, and six movies. They split after their 1984 film ”Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers.” Since then, Marin has been known for straight roles, primarily as Don Johnson’s sidekick on CBS’ long-running ”Nash Bridges” and in such movies as ”Spy Kids.” Chong has remained literally stuck in the ’70s, enjoying a recurring role as aging hippie Leo on Fox’s ”That ’70s Show.”

Marin stars in this fall’s new Fox sitcom ”The Ortegas,” and the movie would likely shoot after the first season ends next summer. ”The time finally came where I felt I had distanced myself enough from the old Cheech persona; people have accepted me as an actor,” Marin told the Reporter. ”I think Tommy and I have a better understanding of each other now, too. Creating with him again is the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It’s so intuitive for us.” Echoed Chong, ”It feels so good. When you’ve been together with someone as long as we were together, there’s a oneness that can’t be broken.”