EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and producer Will Packer have teamed for Fight Night. The studio has preemptively optioned the life rights package for an action comedy that Lars Jacobson will write based on a true story about the most daring of heists.
Fight Night is the story of Atlanta-based hustler Gordon “Chicken Man” Williams and Atlanta’s first black detective, JD Hudson. Set in 1970 on the eve of Muhammad Ali’s comeback fight in Atlanta, the film centers on a post-fight party thrown by Williams that was attended by the most dangerous gangsters in the country. They were all robbed at gunpoint of more than $1 million, making it to this day the largest heist in Georgia history.
Pic has been a passion project for Jacobson and Jeff Keating, latter of whom is the longtime rights holder. Packer will produce with James Lopez through the Universal-based Will Packer Productions. Kenny Burns, who first brought the project to Packer’s attention, will serve as executive producer. Keating will co-produce.
Packer’s coming off Girls Trip and before that the Ride Along and Think Like a Man film series. The producer, who recently won an NAACP Image Award, saw Girls Trip become the ninth film he has produced that finished first at the domestic box office on opening weekend.
Jacobson, who writes for both film and television, recently sold the spy drama Fodor — based on the secret life of legendary travel writer-turned-spy Eugene Fodor –with NBC International and David Heyman producing the series, and Patrick Dempsey attached to star. Jacobson also co-wrote the upcoming Day of the Dead remake.
Universal’s EVP Mark Sourian will oversee production for the studio.
Will Packer Productions is represented by CAA; Burns is repped by Studio43; Keating by APA; and Jacobson by manager Brian Lutz and attorney Ryan Nord.