Tina Mabry to Direct HBO Max Movie About Pretty Big Movement Dance Company

Get Lifted Film Co., Macro and Kristina Sorensen teamed to produce the movie, co-written by Dan Steele.

Tina Mabry
Ashley Convington

Akira Armstrong’s Pretty Big Movement dance company set out to destroy stereotypes in the dance world — and now that story is getting the Hollywood treatment in a new film.

Set at Warner Bros. for HBO Max, “Pretty Big” is based on the true life story and the origin of Armstrong’s dance company, which is inclusive of bodies of all shapes, sizes and colors. Tina Mabry (“Pose,” “Women of the Movement”) has signed on to direct the project, co-writing the screenplay with Dan Steele (“Gossip Girl,” “Faking It”).

The movie follows Armstrong, a young, plus-sized woman who takes matters into her own hands after being rejected from other dance companies, despite her obvious talent. After starting her own company, she sets out to win a prestigious competition and prove to the dance community that anyone can dance at an elite level.

Warner Bros. nabbed the competitive package, bid on by multiple studios, for HBO Max. Get Lifted Film Co.’s Mike Jackson, Macro’s Poppy Hanks and Jelani Johnson and Kristina Sorensen will produce the project.

“Our mission at Get Lifted Film Co. is to continue telling compelling stories of people who are often marginalized, and we are so thrilled to be a part of bringing Akira’s journey to the world with our friends at Macro and the incredible creative team led by Tina Mabry,” Jackson stated. “It’s a true gift.”

Get Lifted’s John Legend and Ty Stiklorius are also on board as executive producers, alongside Armstrong and Macro’s Charles D. King and James F. Lopez. Get Lifted’s MacKenzie Marlowe will serve as associate producer, with Cate Adams and Diamond McNeil overseeing the production on behalf of Warner Bros. Get Lifted is represented by WME and Nina Shaw, Jean Tanaka and Kevin Garlitz of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finklestein and Lezcano.

“The best part about this experience has been getting to know Akira and bring her story to a new medium, everyone can relate to having a dream and having to build their own opportunities,” added Sorensen, who is represented by Jesse Nord at The Nord Group.

“Akira’s story captures the essence of why we’re in this business. Our experience working alongside Dan, Tina, Kristina and Get Lifted has only amplified our desire to bring this story to the screen. This is a project that speaks to Macro’s commitment to telling compelling, commercial stories through a culturally authentic lens,” said Macro’s Poppy Hanks and Jelani Johnson.

Mabry broke onto the scene in 2009, when she wrote and directed the groundbreaking feature film “Mississippi Damned.” The filmmaker recently rewrote and is attached to direct “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat” at Searchlight, as well as “Tigerbelles,” the Wilma Rudolph story, at Lionsgate. On the television front, Mabry most recently worked on ABC’s “Women of the Movement” and directed the “Beast Mode” pilot for Macro/TNT. Her episodic directing credits also include “Insecure,” “Dear White People,” “Pose,” “Grand Army” and “The Politician,” plus she won the DGA Award for outstanding directorial achievement in children’s programs for Amazon’s “American Girl.” Mabry is represented by WME, M88 and attorney Tara Kole.

Steele has written for over 100 episodes of television, including “Gossip Girl” and “Hart of Dixie.” He also co-produced MTV’s “Faking It” and “The Donors,” executive produced by Kevin Hart. Steele also co-write a feature screenplay, which is in development at Netflix with HartBeat producing. He is represented by Lit Entertainment Group and attorney Ryan Nord at The Nord Group.

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Steele: Michael Buckner