EXCLUSIVE: The marathon will continue on streaming and in the hands of Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay.
A co-production between DuVernay’s ARRAY banner and Hussle’s Marathon Films, the project was secured by Netflix after an intense bidding war hosted recently by CAA for its When They See Us client. The Reed Hastings-led streamer, home of DuVernay’s acclaimed 2016 documentary 13th, picked up the Nipsey film for high eight figures to beat out some deep-pocketed contenders, I hear.
DuVerney will produce and direct the Nipsey film.
Coming off a plethora of dramas like the Emmy-winning When They See Us, the soon-to-launch Cherish the Day and the Rosario Dawson-starring DMZ pilot in production for HBO Max, the Nipsey film is DuVernay’s first return to documentaries since 13th, the criminal justice, race and mass incarceration film four years ago.
The deal comes less than a year after Nipsey’s fatal shooting last March in South L.A. and the outpouring from the City of Angels for an artist and activist many saw as just emerging into his own despite already achieving commercial and critical success. In just the past few weeks, Nipsey was honored at the Grammy Awards last month in a tribute introduced at the Staples Center and on CBS by DuVernay herself.
I also have learned that Nipsey’s estate reached out to the director directly based on their admiration for her work on the likes of 13th and When They See Us.
Having inked a $100 million overall deal with Warner Bros Television Group in late 2018, DuVernay also has others irons in the fire with a one-hour drama on the Texas oil industry for TNT alongside ex-Queen Sugar showrunner Kat Candler. Similar to the graphic novel space of DMZ, the ARRAY chief is also working on a big-budget and big-screen version of Jack Kirby’s New Gods. Part of Warner Bros slate, New Gods is being co-written by DuVernay and Tom King.
DuVernary is repped by CAA and attorneys Nina Shaw and Gordon Bobb.