EXCLUSIVE: U.S. outfit Argent Pictures is turning its Fox Sports boxing documentary They Fight into a narrative feature film.
Andrew Renzi directed the original documentary and will write the screenplay for the new feature. Mandalay Pictures will also produce.
Produced by Argent, Renzi and Common, and based on a Washington Post article by Michael Minahan, the doc charted the road to the 2017 Junior Olympics for young teens fighting to defend titles and avenge losses – all while balancing their lives at home, at school, at work and within the community.
Like the documentary, the new movie will tell the story a group of adolescent boxers and their formerly incarcerated coach in Southeast Washington DC on the road to defend their national titles.
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Hacksaw Ridge backer Argent’s Jill Ahrens, Ryan Ahrens and Ben Renzo, and Mandalay Pictures‘ Jason Michael Berman (The Birth Of A Nation) will produce the new version. Executive producers are Argent partners and sports stars Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, NBA all-star guard Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, retired NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, and retired NBA all-star Michael Finley.
Fox Sports acquired the documentary last year and showcased the film as a part of their Magnify Film Series while also releasing the film in select theaters nationwide.
Producer Ryan Ahrens said, “We really felt compelled to make a bigger cinematic version of this story after seeing how powerful the documentary played and the audience connection to it. Not every documentary lends itself to narrative stories on the big screen, but we feel They Fight is one of those rare stories that deserves to be shared with feature film audiences. Andrew’s passion has driven this project from the beginning and we’re happy to partner with him on the feature!”
Renzi added, “Growing up in Philadelphia, where Rocky and Creed are perceived as so much more than just fictional characters, boxing stories have always had a big place in my heart. After spending years making my documentary, I really felt like there was hole in the genre that needed to be filled. Similar to what Friday Night Lights did for a football town, I’m interested in showing where our boxing legends started, the community that molds them, and the push and pull between the sport and the world outside of the ring when financial gains are not yet in the equation.”
Argent are behind recently revealed projects including Good Joe Bell with Mark Wahlberg, Connie Britton and Gary Sinise, a new feature bio-pic on American soccer star Hope Solo, and the horror comedy Bride And Doom, which Eli Craig is writing and directing.
Renzi is currently in post production on his new film, Ready for War, a documentary feature about the phenomenon of deported U.S. veterans. The film is being executive produced by Drake and David Ayer for Showtime.
Lisa Nitti negotiated the They Fight deal on behalf of Argent Pictures. Linda Lichter negotiated on behalf of Andrew Renzi.
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