Prentice Penny (Insecure, Uncorked) has signed on to direct an adaptation of the New York Times bestselling graphic novel New Kid for Universal Pictures, tapping Eli Wilson Pelton (Insecure, Bridgerton) to adapt the script. His production company A Penny For Your Thoughts Entertainment has also come aboard to develop and produce the film alongside The SpringHill Company.
New Kid tells the story of Jordan Banks, who experiences culture shock as one of the few kids of color when his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school, struggling both to start over and to fit in. The graphic novel from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft was published by HarperCollins in 2019 and subsequently became the first to win the coveted Newbery Medal, as well as the Coretta Scott King Award.
Universal Pictures acquired the rights to New Kid in 2020 as part of its four-year, first-look deal with The SpringHill Company, which optioned the novel in 2019. LeBron James and Maverick Carter will produce for SpringHill, with Craft and Penny exec producing alongside SpringHill’s Jamal Henderson and Spencer Beighley, and A Penny For Your Thoughts’ President and Partner Chris Pollack. Senior Vice President of Production Development, Jeyun Munford, will oversee the project for the studio.
Penny is an award-winning multi-hyphenate best known for his work on HBO’s hit comedy Insecure, serving as showrunner, executive producer and a frequent director of the series, which came to the end of its fifth and final season in December. He made his feature directorial and screenwriting debut in 2020 with the Netflix original film Uncorked—a father-son story loosely based on his own family life, which debuted to critical acclaim and established itself as the streamer’s #1 movie in the U.S. the week of its release. He has also contributed to the writing and producing of series including Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Happy Endings, Scrubs and Girlfriends.
Pelton is currently a producer on Bridgerton, and previously was a co-producer on Gloria Calderón Kellett’s Amazon Original series With Love. Prior to his work there, he worked under Penny as a writer and executive story editor for two seasons of Insecure. He also previously served as an executive story editor for HBO Max’s Generation, and as a staff writer for Hulu’s High Fidelity.
Penny’s multi-media production company A Penny For Your Thoughts Entertainment has been behind series including Insecure and the late-night series Pause with Sam Jay, which Penny co-created with former Saturday Night Live writer Sam Jay, venturing into the unscripted area with the truTV lifestyle series Upscale with Prentice Penny. Other projects it has at various stages of development include an original holiday film at Netflix that Penny will direct and co-write; a television adaptation of Martyna Majok’s stage production queens; and an untitled project that Penny will co-write with Janine Nabers.
The SpringHill Company is a global entertainment company uniting three brands built by James and Carter: the Sports Emmy-winning media and consumer product brand, UNINTERRUPTED; the premium scripted and unscripted film and television production brand, SpringHill Entertainment; and brand and culture consultancy, The Robot Company. SpringHill launched its partnership with Universal with an Untitled LeBron James Project, based on the book Shooting Stars by James and Buzz Bissinger and other events in James’ life. Chris Robinson is set to direct that film from a script by Frank E. Flowers with current revisions by Tony Rettenmaier & Juel Taylor. SpringHill is producing it with Terence and Rachel Winter.
Penny is represented by WME, Theresa Kang-Lowe’s Blue Marble Management and attorneys John Meigs and Adam Kaller; Pelton by 3 Arts, UTA and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller; James and The SpringHill Company by WME and attorney Matt Johnson; and Craft by Hansen Literary, WME and attorney Darren Trattner.
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