The film is based on the 2015 boxing documentary “T-REX” directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper. Barry Jenkins penned the script and had been eyeing the project as a potential directing vehicle for himself, but chose to stay on as a producer instead, making room for Morrison to take on the movie.
Michael De Luca will produce via his Universal-based Michael De Luca Productions alongside Jenkins and De Luca Productions’ Elishia Holmes. Canepari and Cooper will executive produce.
The pic tells the story of 17-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, a Flint, Mich., native whose dreams of becoming the first woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing were realized at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Shields won a second gold medal in women’s middleweight boxing. The studio acquired Shields’ life rights and rights to the documentary in 2016.
Universal’s senior EVP of production, Erik Baiers, will oversee the project for the studio.
Morrison had been seen as a rising force on the directing scene after earning an Oscar nomination for “Mudbound,” marking a first for a female cinematographer. She would follow that up by being tapped as director of photography on “Black Panther” and eventually helmed the pilot for the Starz pilot “Hightown.” She is repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion. Jenkins is repped by CAA, Silent R Management and Lichter Grossman.