LeBron James will be bringing his next feature film project back home to Ohio. He will be producing a movie entitled SHOOTING STARS, based on the four-time NBA champion’s life. Seeing how James regularly refers to himself as “just a kid from Akron, Ohio,” it’s fitting that SHOOTING STARS is expected to film primarily in LeBron’s hometown of Akron, as well as in the Cleveland area. Sources tell SCREEN the feature is expected to shoot this Spring or Summer, but certainly much can change, as the country continues to grapple with the current pandemic.
The film is an adaptation of the book SHOOTING STARS, written by LeBron and Buzz Bissinger. The book chronicles the story of LeBron James and his best friends, who first met on a youth basketball team when they were ten years old. United by their love of the game and their yearning for companionship, they quickly forged a bond that would carry them through thick and thin and, at last, to the brink of a national championship.
LeBron’s Production Deal with NBC Universal
This past September, LeBron and his business partner Maverick Carter signed a deal with NBCUniversal, aimed at producing film and television projects about sports and culture. The deal gives Universal a first look at entertainment projects from James’ production company, SpringHill, for four years. SHOOTING STARS will mark the first collaboration of this deal.
LeBron’s production company SpringHill was formed earlier last year with a $100 million investment, and aims to also tell stories about current cultural events. James and childhood friend Carter said in an interview last June that they are specifically hoping to give overlooked creators — especially people of color — a vehicle to create entertainment.
Meet the Director of SHOOTING STARS
Release date, shooting dates, and key cast are all forthcoming, but SCREEN can confirm one critical piece of the puzzle. SHOOTING STARS will be directed by Chris Robinson, who is best known for directing music videos from Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Usher, as well as the Grammy nominated video for “One Mic” by Nas:
Also on the SHOOTING STARS team are producers Rachel and Terence Winter. Rachel was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture for the 2013 film DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, while Terence is the creator, writer, and executive producer of the HBO television series BOARDWALK EMPIRE. As for the screenplay for SHOOTING STARS, it is being adapted from the aforementioned novel by Frank E. Flowers (his short film SWALLOW premiered at Sundance and won at Austin) with revisions by Tony Rettenmaier and Juel Taylor.
SpringHill has plenty of projects in the pipeline. In addition to the upcoming family film SPACE JAM 2, which stars LeBron, the company created NBC’s primetime game show THE WALL, as well as the docuseries I PROMISE. Other projects on the horizon include NEW KID, based on the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal by Jerry Craft, and CATCH THE WAVE, based on an original pitch by Ali Kinney.
Check back here at Screen Magazine for updates as SHOOTING STARS heads into production in Akron and Cleveland, Ohio.