Disney has acquired the life rights to Casey Connor for Mandeville Films (“The Muppets”) to adapt as an inspirational biopic about the female celebrity DJ.
The project will essentially be an “8 Mile”-type take on Connor and how, at 17, the promising singer-dancer put her aspirations aside to raise her 12-year-old sister after their parents died. Connor wound up accelerating her high school courses to graduate early and run their mother’s daycare center out of their Brooklyn home to pay down the family’s $80,000 debts.
Her dream takes off after a chance encounter with a talent manager lands her spinning gigs at New York City nightclubs and moves her to Los Angeles, where she DJ’d parties for Madonna, Britney Spears, Kanye West and Jennifer Lopez, fashion shows, film premieres and club parties, among others, which allowed her to pay for her sister’s studies at Loyola Marymount. Her sister graduated with honors in 2010.
Project fits in well with the lower-budgeted inspirational tales Disney is known for making, like sports pics “The Rookie,” “Incredible,” “Miracle” and “Secretariat,” and the “Step Up” dance franchise, which Summit co-produces.
Mandeville’s partners David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will produce the project. Shingle’s senior VP David Manpearl brought the story to the company. Kristin Burr and Tonia Davis will oversee at Disney.
CAA reps Connor.
Mandeville, which has a first-look deal at Disney, is putting the finishing touches on “The Muppets” film, which comes out at Thanksgiving, and has a bigscreen version of the “Jungle Cruise” theme park ride in development with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen attached to star. It produced last year’s “The Fighter,” with Relativity Media, and “The Proposal” and “Surrogates,” both for Disney.