EXCLUSIVE: Origin Pictures’ David Thompson, producer of Catherine The Great, The Woman In Gold and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, is teaming with Sixth Sense Productions’ Richard Harding (The First Grader) on feature sports biopic Tether about celebrated blind athlete Henry Wanyoike.
The film will tell the remarkable story of the promising Kenyan runner who was struck blind after complications from a mild stroke at just 21. Following a painful period, he joined a rehabilitation program, which helped him rekindle his passion for running. Wanyoike would go on to make history as the first African to win a Paralympic gold medal when he won the 5000m at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney.
The film’s title refers to the process by which a blind runner is connected to a guide by a tether on their wrists, which the guide uses to subtly indicate, without breaking stride, when to turn, accelerate or avoid an obstacle. Wanyoike runs with his track guide and childhood friend, Joseph Kibunja.
Based on the book Victory Despite Blindness by Joseph Ngunjiri, the uplifting project is being adapted by Brit scribe Chris Hill (Skins). The NFTS grad was brought on after Harding came across Hill’s spec One Day Longer about the six-year-long Frontier Strike in Vegas during the nineties, that pitted Latinx hotel and casino workers against a brass-knuckled hotel owner.
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Former BBC Films chief Thompson most recently produced William Nicholson’s directorial debut Hope Gap and Helen Mirren HBO Max series Catherine The Great.
Harding’s historical drama-thriller The Benghazi Six is due to go into production next year. The pic is about the trials, appeals and eventual release of six foreign medical workers charged with conspiring to deliberately infect over 400 children with HIV, after the Libyan Gaddafi regime made them a scapegoat for a HIV/AIDS outbreak in government-run hospitals of Benghazi. Harding was also part of the finance team behind 2004 Oscar-nominee Hotel Rwanda.
Hill’s credits include 2016 adventure-thriller film Bachelor Games and a stint in the writing room of UK cult teen series Skins. Projects in development include boxing biopic Carrying David, about Glenn McCrory and his adopted brother David, who, despite muscular dystrophy, coached his beloved sibling to a world title in 1989 from destitute North-East England during the Thatcher era. Hill is represented by attorney Ryan Nord.
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