Taylor Materne penned the script, which had bids from four studios before Legendary ultimately won out with a high six-figure sale.
Dave Meyers will direct the film. Meyers is best known for his work with hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar and is coming off a Grammy win for his direction of Lamar’s music video “Humble.” He recently directed the music video for Lamar’s single with SZA, “All the Stars,” from the “Black Panther” soundtrack.
James and Maverick Carter will produce through their Springhill Entertainment with Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum, and Zack Roth producing through Roth/Kirschenbaum Films. Jamal Henderson and Spencer Beighley of Springhill will exec produce. The project was brought to Legendary by creative executive Jay Ashenfelter.
The project follows a washed-up basketball scout who discovers a Chinese streetball phenom and sees him as his ticket back to the NBA, talking him into coming to Los Angeles to train for the draft. The phenom is thrown into the hype machine of pro basketball prospects and must deal with being away from his family and village for the first time while the scout tries to put back together the pieces of the family he left behind.
The package gained momentum at the beginning of the month after Roth/Kirschenbaum passed along the script to James’ reps at WME. The agency quickly saw it as the perfect package for James, drawing the NBA superstar and Carter and the Springhill team.
Following this sale and the news that James will producing a “House Party” reboot at New Line, James will officially become a member of the Producer’s Guild.
The project also marks a big development for Materne, who started his writing career working on a bestselling series of YA novels, “The Upper Class.” His first feature, “Times Square,” landed on the Black List and sold to Focus with Justin Lin attached to direct. He recently co-wrote the spy thriller “Marseilles,” which is based on an original idea by Damien Chazelle.
Along with “House Party” and “Hustle,” Springhill is also an executive producer on the Netflix limited series “On Her Own Ground” starring Octavia Spencer. Roth/Kirschenbaum is currently in production on the Universal pic “The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle” starring Robert Downey Jr.
Besides WME, James is also repped by Ziffren Brittenham. Meyers is repped by APA. Materne is repped by CAA, Ben Rowe at Oasis Entertainment Group and attorney Jeff Hynick. Roth/Kirschenbaum is repped by CAA and Ziffren Brittenham.