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David O. Russell in Talks to Produce Basketball Drama ‘Boy21’

Variety logo Variety 7/18/2017 Dave McNary
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Lionsgate is moving ahead with a movie version of Matthew Quick’s basketball drama “Boy21” with David O. Russell in talks to produce.

Current production companies on the project are John Malkovich’s Mr. Mudd and Channing Tatum’s Free Association. Producers are Barry Rosenstein; Mr. Mudd’s Russell Smith, Lianne Halfon, and Malkovich; and Free Association’s Tatum and Reid Carolin. Peter Kiernan is an executive producer.

Lionsgate has also hired screenwriter John Whittington, whose credits include “Lego Batman” and “Ninjago,” to adapt the novel. “Boy21,” published by Little, Brown & Co., centers on the relationship between two high school seniors in a rough town ruled by the Irish mob. One takes care of his disabled grandfather and finds escape on the basketball court; the other is a former basketball phenom whose life has been turned upside down by tragedy.

No director or actors have been attached yet to “Boy21.”

Russell has received five Academy Award nominations including two for writing and directing “Silver Linings Playbook,” which he adapted from Quick’s novel of the same name. Russell has also received Oscar nominations for directing “The Fighter” and for writing and directing “American Hustle.” He’s the only director to have two films with nominations in all four acting categories for “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle.” His most recent directing gig was on Jennifer Lawrence’s “Joy.”

Russell is repped by CAA and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown. Whittington is repped by Verve, MXN Entertainent and McKuin Frankel Whitehead. The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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