Warner Bros. TV has announced that Lena Waithe (The Chi, Master of None, Queen & Slim, Ready Player One) has inked a new deal that will bring the acclaimed documentary Hoop Dreams to HBO Max as a scripted series.
Hoop Dreams is a 1994 American documentary film directed by Steve James, and produced by Frederick Marx, James, and Peter Gilbert, with Kartemquin Films. It follows the story of two African-American high school students, William Gates and Arthur Agee, in Chicago during the height of the Bulls and Michael Jordan, and their dream of becoming professional basketball players.
The 1994 documentary was followed up by a book from journalist Ben Joravsky two years later, which included new stories and updates on the pair’s lives.
Here is the logline: The proposed series is a coming-of-age drama following two African American teenage boys in 1990s Chicago experiencing the privileges and pitfalls of being high school basketball phenoms at the height of the Jordan era, and the start of high school players turning pro. Through their friendship and rivalry, the boys must learn to empower themselves in a world that considers them commodities before they can legally drive.
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“We are excited to work with Hillman Grad, Playground and Warner Bros. Television on adapting ‘Hoop Dreams’ into a scripted television series,” said Steve James, Peter Gilbert, and Frederick Marx said in a statement. “There’s been quite a bit of interest over the years since the film came out in 1994, but Lena Waithe is the ideal Chicagoan to lead the effort to finally make it happen.”
The drama is part of Waithe’s new first-look TV deal with Warner Bros. She had been previously set up at Amazon. Rishi Rajani will produce new television programming through Waithe’s Hillman Grad for all platforms, including WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, external streaming services, cable, and the five broadcast networks.
Waithe and Rajani will executive produce Hoop Dreams under their Hillman Grad banner along with Scott Huff, David A. Stern, and Colin Callender of Playground Entertainment, and Steve James, Peter Gilbert, and Frederick Marx. S.W.A.T. showrunner Aaron Rahsaan Thomas is set to write and executive produce.
In 2011, the documentary was ranked #1 on the TV special 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die. In 2005, Hoop Dreams was included in the annual selection of 25 motion pictures added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and recommended for preservation.
Assuming the players who are involved, it’s safe to probably assume the series will be filmed in Chicago.