Brian Tyree Henry (“Eternals”) is set to star in boxing drama “Flint Strong” from cinematographer Rachel Morrison, who is making her feature directorial debut, according to an individual with knowledge of the project.
The project has landed at MGM after previously being set up at Universal, where production lasted two days before being shut down by COVID and delayed indefinitely. Production will kick off in Toronto next week with MGM on board to produce and distribute.
“Flint Strong” will be based on the 2015 boxing documentary “T-Rex,” which was directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper. Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins adapted the script and is also producing the project. The executive producers are Canepari, Cooper, Lyn Lucibello and Sue Jaye Johnson. Elishia Holmes is overseeing the project for MGM.
“T-Rex” told the story of 17-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, who is from Flint, Michigan and who had a dream of becoming the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing, which she achieved at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Then, she won her second gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Universal acquired her life rights and rights to the documentary in 2016.
Henry is taking over the role which was previously set to be played by Ice Cube. The ensemble cast also includes Ryan Destiny and Oluniké Adeliyi. Destiny is starring as Claressa “T-Rex” Shields. Henry will be playing Sheilds’ coach Jason Crutchfield, who worked a cable job by day while training Claressa by night. Crutchfield continues to live in Flint with his family today and train at Berston Field House. Adeliyi will play the role of Jackie Shields.
Henry who was most recently seen in Marvel Studios’ “Eternals,” currently stars in FX’s “Atlanta” and will soon star opposite Brad Pitt in Sony’s “Bullet Train” and with Jennifer Lawrence in A24’s untitled feature from director Lila Neugebauer. Henry is also currently in production as the lead in FX’s “Class of ’09.”
Morrison made history as the first woman ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for her work in “Mudbound.” She was also the first woman to shoot a Marvel Cinematic Universe film with “Black Panther.”
Her other credits include “Fruitvale Station,” “Cake,” “Dope,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and “Confirmation.”
Henry is repped by Jennifer Wiley-Stockton at JWS Entertainment, CAA, Jackoway Austen Tyerman and Jill Fritzo PR. Morrison is represented by CAA and Circle of Confusion.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.