Prentice Penny, who served as showrunner on HBO’s popular series “Insecure,” is stepping behind the camera to direct a feature film for Universal Pictures.
Penny has been hired to adapt “New Kid,” a movie version of Jerry Craft’s bestselling graphic novel. The children’s story follows a Black pre-teen named Jordan Banks, who experiences culture shock when his parents enroll him at an elite private school.
LeBron James will produce “New Kid” through his production house The SpringHill Company, along with SpringHill executive Maverick Carter. Jamal Henderson, Spencer Beighley and “New Kid” author Craft will be executive producers. In addition to directing, Penny will also executive produce through his shingle A Penny for Your Thoughts Entertainment with president and partner Chris Pollack.
Eli Wilson Pelton, whose credits include “Insecure” and “Brigerton,” will write the screenplay. After they collaborated on “Insecure,” where Wilson Pelton worked as writer and executive story editor for two seasons, Penny advocated to bring Wilson Pelton on board the film.
Universal Pictures acquired the rights to “New Kid” in 2020 as part of the studio’s first-look deal with The SpringHill Company, which had initially optioned the novel in 2019. Universal’s senior VP of production development Jeyun Munford will oversee for the studio.
Penny’s past writing credits include the television shows “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Happy Endings,” “Scrubs” and “Girlfriends.” He made his feature directorial debut with Netflix’s 2020 original film “Uncorked.” Starring Mamoudou Athie, Niecy Nash and Courtney B. Vance, “Uncorked” draws inspiration from Penny’s own family and centers on a son who wants to pursue his dream career without disappointing his father.
Penny is represented by WME, Theresa Kang-Lowe’s Blue Marble Management and attorneys John Meigs and Adam Kaller; Wilson Pelton is represented by 3 Arts, UTA and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman (HJTH); James and The SpringHill Company are represented by WME and Matt Johnson/Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole LLP; Craft is represented by Judy Hansen/Hansen Literary, Sylvie Rabineau/WME and Darren Trattner/Jackoway, Austen, Tyerman.