101 Studios will produce, finance, and distribute the film adaptation of Daniel J. Boyne’s biography The Red Rose Crew: A True Story Of Women, Winning, and The Water. The pic will rep the first feature film from Sports Illustrated Studios, the new banner formed under 101 Studios and Authentic Brands Group. Alexis Ostrander (The Haircut, Defining Beauty: Ms. Wheelchair America) will direct the film, and the story will be adapted by Laura Hansen.
Set in 1975, the book follows a group of inspiring women who rowed their way to international glory, battling sexual prejudice, bureaucracy and male domination to usher in a new era for competitive sports. Dubbed the “Red Rose Crew,” a team of eight dedicated rowers from across the country—including soft-spoken MIT professor Gail Pearson, competitive lead rower Carie Graves and teenage coxswain Lynn Stillman—the group banded together and was determined to prove themselves at the World Rowing Championships. Under the guidance of Harvard men’s crew coach Harry Parker, who initially doubted that women could withstand the rigors of hard training, the team achieved unprecedented success and made history. Red Rose Crew was published in 2000 by Lyons Press.
“We are thrilled to be able to tell this story,” said David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios. “We chose for this film to be Sports Illustrated Studios’ inaugural release because at Sports Illustrated Studios, we are proud to bring to life the most compelling sports stories in history in ways that haven’t been seen before, and that’s exactly our mission with Red Rose Crew. The Red Rose Crew’s journey is a remarkable one that many are unfamiliar with, and with a team of dynamic filmmakers, we look forward to allow audiences to see their tenacity and determination firsthand in theaters worldwide.”
The Red Rose Crow will be executive produced by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lindsay Williams from Gotham Group and Alexis Ostrander and Zoë Kent of A to Z Productions.
Hansen and Ostrander brought Boyne’s book to 101 Studios. “There aren’t nearly enough stories celebrating women in sports and, for so many reasons, this feels like the perfect time to be inspired by the Red Rose Crew and everything they overcame,” said Hansen. “I’m so honored to help bring this pioneering, unconventional sisterhood to life with Alexis and the rest of our amazing team.” Hansen is represented by Gotham Group and attorney Rob Goldman.
Ostrander is a Warner Brothers Emerging Film Directors and TV Directors Workshop alumna, and has directed episodes of Supergirl, American Horror Story, and Servant. She received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her direction of the pilot episode of Light as a Feather on Hulu and was named one of the Alice Initiative’s Emerging Female Directors in January 2020. She also partook in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women.
“I’m excited to be working with 101 Studios and have a partner that is championing such an empowering story,” said Ostrander. “I was drawn to this group of unsung heroes and how their struggles and triumphs still hold water today. Their camaraderie, perseverance and steadfast belief in themselves inspire me, and I can’t wait for the world to fall in love with them.”
Boyne has authored several books and is also a freelance journalist and rowing coach at Harvard University. He served as the marine and rowing consultant on The Social Network. “I am very happy to work with such a talented team of people and I am excited that this inspirational and important story will be told in such an authentic way,” said Boyne.
Leif Cervantes de Reinstein of Sheppard Mullin negotiated the deal on behalf of 101 Studios with George Davis on behalf of Gotham Group, and CAA, Rick Genow and Hannah Mulderink from Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher, LLP for Alexis Ostrander and Zoë Kent.