EXCLUSIVE: Ashley Greene (Twilight saga), Greg Finley (The Flash), Brandon Thomas Lee (The Hills: New Beginnings), and David Arquette (Scream film series) have signed to star in Blackjack: The Jackie Ryan Story, a feature about the Brooklyn-native street basketball legend Jackie Ryan. Danny A. Abeckaser is directing the film for his production company 2B Films. Antonio Macia wrote the script in collaboration with Ryan.
Based on a true story, the pic will center on Jackie, a hot-tempered, flamboyant and self-centered streetballer whose dreams of playing professional basketball seem to have passed him by after years of hard partying and neglect. Jackie works construction alongside his overbearing father and his wise-cracking best friend Marty. After being spotted at the famous West 4th basketball court for his incredible talent, Jackie is invited to try out for the New Jersey Nets. He is forced to confront his inner demons, even his family, and turn his life around.
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Greene has been cast as the female lead, Finley will take on the title role, and Lee will play Jackie Ryan’s brother.
Rounding out the cast are Robert Davi, Bo Dietl, Tara Westwood, Sean Avery and James Madio, with filming slated to being at the end of the month in New York. Abeckaser will produce the project with Vincent Maggio. Executive producers are Isaac Gindi, David Gindi and Ron Rofe
“I am so excited to finally begin shooting this film,” Abeckaser said. “We have spent two years working on the movie behind the scenes and the last month prepping in New York for production and in casting mode. To be able to finally start shooting and have our cast set is beyond exciting. We needed to find a slew of actors who can not only act but also play basketball in order to be able to shoot this film accurately to tell the story of Jackie Ryan the way I want to tell it.”
The film will mark Abeckaser’s third directorial outing following the yet-to-be-released film Mob Town, in which he co-stars in with Arquette, and First We Take Brooklyn. He’ll also appear in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film The Irishman.