Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine is developing its first feature-length documentary about tennis legend Martina Navratilova in partnership with Glenn Greenwald and Suzanne Gilbert.
The documentary will explore Navratilova’s achievements as a social justice pioneer told through Greenwald’s personal lens as a gay child growing up in Reagan-era Florida. The documentary will examine Navratilova’s impact on him as his childhood hero, how people find role models, and what people seek when they feel isolated, judged, or cast aside by society.
“The issues raised by Martina’s legacy resonate now more than ever, which is why it’s so important to tell her story to new generations of engaged young people who may not be aware of the vital role she played in shaping expectations around female identity and LGBT equality,” said Charlotte Koh, head of digital media and programming for Hello Sunshine.
Koh is also producing the project. “Having producers Glenn and Suzanne reframe Martina’s impact on society through the lens of Glenn’s personal coming-of-age journey creates a fresh, intimate, and relatable film for a wide audience,” she added.
Navratilova is regarded as one of the best tennis players of all time. She won 18 singles titles, 31 major women’s doubles titles, and 10 major mixed doubles titles.
“As monumental as Martina’s on-court achievements were, they pale in comparison to her role as a pioneer and trailblazer on questions of feminism, women’s athletics, equality for gay and lesbians across the planet, transgender visibility, immigrant rights, and the right of political dissent,” Greenwald said. “I’m excited to be partnering with Reese and Hello Sunshine to explore her truly enduring legacy, her remarkable courage directly or indirectly inspiring millions of people who lacked any other role models.”
Greenwald plans to feature materials and memories shared by fans all across the world that demonstrate Navratilova’s impact on various social and political initiatives.
Greenwald’s work with Edward Snowden was chronicled in the documentary “CitizenFour,” which won the Academy Award in 2015, and the film “Snowden” in 2016.
Witherspoon founded Hello Sunshine in 2016 with the goal of promoting female authorship and storytelling. It’s developed a Hulu limited series from Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, based on Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere”; an untitled morning show series produced by and starring Jennifer Aniston and Witherspoon, which was given a two-season order by Apple; a film for Fox 2000 based on the novel “Something in the Water”; and “A White Lie,” a psychological thriller for TriStar Pictures.