Ascension EaglesBig Talk Pictures, the company behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, has optioned the true-life story of Britain’s most successful cheerleading squad, the Ascension Eagles.

Producer Damian Jones (Sex&drugs&rock&roll) brought the story to Big Talk. This will be the first project to be developed from scratch through Big Talk’s development and financing deal with Optimum Releasing and Film4.

The company has optioned the life story of a young Texan woman who moved to one of East London’s poorest neighbourhoods as the young wife of a British vicar. Dismayed at the lack of opportunity, Shara Brice set about transforming an initially reluctant group of local kids into a cheerleading squad who now rank 6th in the world — the most successful co-ed squad outside of the States. Yes, it’s an inspirational story we’ve all heard before but a hardy box office perennial.

Big Talk has also nabbed the rights to The Ascension Eagles themselves, plus one of the founder members who became senior coach.

TV comedienne Daisy Donovan is writing the screenplay. The as-yet-untitled project will be produced by Jones and Big Talk’s Nira Park. Big Talk’s Matthew Justice (Hallam Foe) and Rachael Prior (Wild Child) will executive produce.

Park, the company’s CEO, says the project brings together classic fish-out-of-water elements with a feel-good wish fulfilment story. She sees it as a British comedy in the vein of Billy Elliot and The Full Monty.

She founded Big Talk in 1995 as a TV comedy production company. Big Talk currently has two movies in post-production: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s latest project Paul, directed by Greg Mottola for Universal/Working Title, with Seth Rogan voicing a hitchhiking alien; and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, directed by Edgar Wright and starring Michael Cera for Universal.