'Rise': Sterling K. Brown To Star As Real Life Custodian-Turned-HS Basketball Coach In Inspirational Sports Drama
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'Rise': Sterling K. Brown To Star As Real Life Custodian-Turned-HS Basketball Coach In Inspirational Sports Drama

Sterling K. Brown has been tapped to star in an upcoming inspirational sports drama film from Sony's AFFIRM Films. It is based on the real-life story of a Louisiana  high school basketball coach Willie Davis, who was covered twice HBO's Real Sports.

The official description: Willie Davis, a junior high school janitor, seized the opportunity to head coach the school’s basketball team as the school was weighing the decision to cancel the program due to funding concerns. No one else could be found to coach the lackluster team that had won only four games in two years. “The Lord, books and basketball.” Coach Davis, from the very beginning teaches his team of junior high kids these priorities in life, who they need to be and what they need to do in order to be successful on and off the basketball court. Almost immediately, Coach Willie becomes the role model for many of the kids in the school and surrounding community, as they make an amazing run at the state championship.

How Stella Got Her Groove Back director Kevin Rodney Sullivan will be directing a script from Remember the Titans script writer Gregory Allen Howard and Randy Brown. Sullivan's last feature was 2005's Guess Who, which starred Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher and Zoe Saldana. He's since built an extensive repertoire directing television, including episodes of Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, You, All-American and The Good Fight. 

“Sports films typically teach us something more than just ‘sports’. They leave us with a better understanding and knowledge of ourselves and what it takes to live our best life and lift up those around us, no matter the circumstances.” said Rich Peluso, Executive Vice President and Head of AFFIRM Films.

“We have always been fascinated by stories that illustrate how one person can change the trajectory of a life or a community and Willie had that impact on the people he coached. His story is about recognizing the deep value in everyone.” said Ari Pinchot of Crystal City Entertainment.

“Willie’s story inspired and moved us the very first time we heard it. We are thrilled to be working with AFFIRM Films and Crystal City Entertainment. We all believe Kevin Rodney Sullivan is the perfect director to be bringing this story to life for a wide audience.” said Mike Karz and Bill Bindley of Gulfstream Pictures.

This isn't the first time the film has been in development. Ice Cube was attached to produce and star in a film on Davis called Willie, but nothing ever materialized.

Production is set to begin in may in Louisiana with a release date set for April 10, 2020.

 

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

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