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Dwayne Johnson to Star in Relativity’s Adaptation of ‘Not Without Hope’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Relativity will finance, produce and distribute shipwrecked football players story

Having already established himself as one top actors for big-budget tentpoles, Dwayne Johnson is now looking to take on a stronger dramatic role as he is attached to star in Relativity’s adaptation of the best-selling memoir “Not Without Hope.”

Relativity recently acquired the worldwide rights to finance, produce and distribute the film. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh will produce , with Johnson, Johnson’s manager Dany Garcia, Relativity President Tucker Tooley and Rick French, chairman & CEO of Raleigh-based French/West/Vaughan, exec producing.

Based on the memoir by Nick Schuyler, the story follows four friends — Schuyler along with NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, and Schuyler’s best friend, Will Bleakley, a former University of South Florida football player — who were on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat capsized, stranding the four men at sea.

In the days that followed, the men fought to survive as they awaited to see if help would come. Johnson will play Schuyler in the movie.

Schuyler, a former football player is now a personal trainer in Tampa, said “I’m humbled that Relativity was interested in paying tribute to Marquis, Corey and Will, and I was impressed with their vision for the film and how they wanted to honor how these guys lived and loved their families, friends and teammates.”

Brett Dahl is overseeing the project for the studio. Hiram Garcia serves as co-executive producer.

“Nick Schuyler’s book is extremely moving, and Relativity is proud to work with the Rock, Nick and the entire team on creating a movie that honors this powerful story,” said Robbie Brenner, president of production for Relativity.

Johnson has had a busy 2013 with four films having already bowed (“Snitch,” “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Pain and Gain” and “Fast and Furious 6”) with “G.I. Joe” and “Fast & Furious 6” both grossing more than $400 million worldwide.

This latest role gives Johnson an opportunity to show his range and will also allow him to reach auds that are more intrigued by dramatic fare than big-budget action pics. Johnson played college football for the U. of Miami Hurricanes in the 90s and has a feeling for the type of brotherly bond football players build after years of playing together.

Johnson recently finished filming the MGM and Paramount pic “Hercules” and is currently shooting “Fast & Furious 7” in Atlanta. He is also staying busy in TV with TNT reality show “The Hero” is about to start its second season. He also will shoot the untitled HBO pilot about athletes in Miami that Mark Wahlberg is producing and Pete Berg is directing.

He is repped by WME, manager Dany Garcia and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.

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