ESPN has signed producer Gerald Abrams to develop the movie. On
the other hand, writer Paris Qualles (The Tuskegee Airmen
and Blood Brother) has been signed on to pen Johnson's biographical
film and Abrams' Cypress Point Prods. will produce the same.
Johnson won the championship title in 1908, which resulted in rising
racial tensions in the United States throughout his seven-year title
reign. According to a media report, Johnson fled the US in 1913
after being convicted of violating the Mann Act, which was designed
to combat the transportation of prostitutes. He returned in 1920,
after losing his title in Cuba, to serve his yearlong prison sentence.
He died in a 1946 car crash at the age of 68.
Johnson's biographical film will be the latest long-form original
production from ESPN. The next ESPN movie to go into production
will be a biographical film on Roger Bannister, the English runner
who was the first person to break the four-minute mile.
The media report added that ESPN is also planning a made-for adaptation
of David Maraniss's book about Vince Lombardi titled When Pride