Kevin Pollak’s Red Bird Cinema is putting a Sugar Ray Leonard biopic into development, with production expected to start early next year.
Leonard was one of the leading boxers of the 1970s and early ’80s, winning several WBC and WBA championships and a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. He’s one of only two boxers to have been world champion in five different weight classes.
“I have been approached many times in the past regarding my life story, and I believe Red Bird Cinema has the perfect group of collaborators to give my story the right voice,” Leonard said.
H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger (“Friday Night Lights”) is writing the script. Redbird’s already developing Bissinger’s book “Three Nights in August” — centered on a three-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs in 2003 — with Pollak having adapted the book into a screenplay. Bissinger has also written “A Prayer for the City.”
Pollak’s partners in year-old Red Bird are producer John Loar and the St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.
Banner is partnered with Sandlot Venture Group, a new investment company focused on film production, to help provide the financing for the Leonard project.
Sandlot is launching a $25 million private equity fund with a development and production model intended to provide financing in the entertainment sector.