×

Paula Wagner Grabs Film Rights to Mother of Hip-Hop’s Life Story

Producer Paula Wagner has acquired the film rights to the life story of Sylvia Robinson, the founder of Sugar Hill Records, with an eye toward producing a biopic about the hip-hop pioneer.

Joey Robinson, Sylvia’s son, will executive produce, while music exec Robert Kraft is on board to co-produce. Grandmaster Melle Mel — of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, whose tune “The Message” was produced by Robinson and released by her label — will serve as consultant to Joey Robinson.

The film will chart Sylvia Robinson’s life and career, which stretches from her time as one half of the duo Mickey and Sylvia (best known for 1957 hit “Love Is Strange”) to her time as a producer-writer (The Moments’ “Love on a Two Way Street”), solo artist (“Pillow Talk”) and record label founder. Robinson and her husband, Joe, started R&B label All Platinum in the 1970s and then in 1979 launched Sugar Hill Records, credited with popularizing hip-hop via songs including “The Message” and the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.”

The movie will include the Sugar Hill music of the era, which is owned by Robinson’s family and administered by Universal Music Group.

Wagner (“Mission: Impossible,” “The Last Samurai”), whose current film projects in development also include WWII tale “Moon Flower of the Flying Tigers,” has become an active Broadway producer lately with recent credits such as “The Heiress,” “Grace,” and the brewing musical adaptation of “Pretty Woman.” In a deal negotiated by Kenneth Kleinberg of Kleinberg Lange Cuddy and Carlo, Wagner acquired the rights to Robinson’s life story directly from Joey Robinson, who is the administrator of the Sylvia Robinson Estate.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Gerard Butler Angel Has Fallen

    Film Review: 'Angel Has Fallen'

    “Angel Has Fallen” marks the third time that Gerard Butler, as the Secret Service agent and scowling samurai cowboy Mike Banning, has had to rescue the President of the United States from an international conspiracy so cuckoo bananas that the movie barely expects you to believe it. (Actually, in the six years since this series [...]

  • Jessica

    Ninja Thyberg's Female POV Porn Industry Portrait Seduces Buyers (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  Paris-based Versatile has announced a raft of pre-sales on Ninja Thyberg’s debut feature “Jessica,” set in the adult entertianment industry in L.A. World distributors that have pre-bought the Swedish drama take in Weltkino for Germany/Austria, Xenix for Switzerland, MK2/Mile End for Canada, KTH for South Korea and Movie Could for Taïwan. Several [...]

  • Sony Pictures: 'We Are Disappointed' by

    Sony 'Disappointed' by Disney's Divorce on 'Spider-Man' Projects

    Sony Pictures has gone public over its divorce with Disney on future “Spider-Man” projects. In a rare public rebuke to Disney, Sony announced Tuesday night that it was “disappointed” over the decision, highlighting Disney’s refusal to allow Marvel President Kevin Feige to continue as a producer on the projects. It also praised Feige, who teamed [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    ‘Good Boys’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Good Boys.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.42 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Demi Lovato

    Demi Lovato Joins Netflix Comedy 'Eurovision'

    Demi Lovato has joined the upcoming Netflix comedy film “Eurovision.” Will Ferrell, who co-wrote the film with Andrew Steele, announced the news Tuesday with an Instagram post, in which he wished Lovato a happy birthday with a “homemade” cake. Following the announcement, Lovato can be seen blowing out candles on the cake next to a “Eurovision” [...]

  • Rob Schneider'The Week Of' film premiere,

    Film News Roundup: Rob Schneider Wins SAG-AFTRA National Board Seat

    In today’s film news roundup, Rob Schneider wins a SAG-AFTRA board seat; “Badland,” “Sorry We Missed You” and “Extracurricular” find homes; and “The Shawshank Redemption” gets a re-release.  SAG-AFTRA Rob Schneider has won a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Schneider won a four-year term [...]

  • This photo shows actor David Oyelowo

    David Oyelowo Joins George Clooney in 'Good Morning, Midnight' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Oyelowo is in final negotiations to join George Clooney in Netflix’s untitled adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s 2016 novel “Good Morning, Midnight,” sources tell Variety. Felicity Jones and Kyle Chandler are also on board, with Clooney set to helm the pic — his first feature film directing gig since 2017’s “Suburbicon.” “The Revenant” screenwriter Mark [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content