via press release:
LIFETIME GOES FOR THE GOLD WITH BIOPIC
THE GABBY DOUGLAS STORY, STARRING IMANI HAKIM
AND SYDNEY MIKAYLA AS THE OLYMPIC PHENOMENON;
PEABODY AWARD WINNER REGINA KING TO ALSO STAR
Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist GABBY DOUGLAS to Appear in Film,
Also Featuring Emmy® and Golden Globe® Winner S. EPATHA MERKERSON
LOS ANGELES, CA (September 16, 2013) – Imani Hakim (Everybody Hates Chris, Love Reign Over Me) and Sydney Mikayla (Whitney) have been cast to share the role of two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas in the Lifetime Original Movie The Gabby Douglas Story (working title). Produced by Sony Pictures Television, the movie details the inspiring true story of the international gymnastics phenomenon, who overcame overwhelming odds to become the first African American ever to be named Individual All-round Champion in artistic gymnastics at the Olympics. Mikayla will portray Douglas during her childhood while Hakim will play the gold medalist as a teenager and young adult. The real-life Gabby Douglas will appear in the film, which also stars Peabody Award-winning actress Regina King (Southland, Ray) and Golden Globe® and Emmy®-winner S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order). The Gabby Douglas Story will film in Manitoba, Canada, and debut in 2014.
A prodigy from a very young age, Gabby Douglas originally made her mark on the world of competitive gymnastics at age eight. She won numerous state championship titles in her age group throughout her early competitive career. While her star was fast rising in the arena, Gabby and her family faced economic challenges at home and she made the difficult decision to leave her mother Natalie (King), three siblings and grandmother (Merkerson) in Virginia Beach and move to Des Moines, Iowa, to train with renowned coach Liang Chow (Brian Tee, The Wolvernine) to pursue her dream of Olympic glory. Buoyed by her early success, dedication and unyielding love from her family, Gabby made it onto the 2012 U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team, with whom she faced intense competition in the London Games. Her sacrifice and perseverance were triumphantly rewarded with Team Competition and Individual All-round gold medals, placing Gabby and her teammates – known as “The Fierce Five” -- among the world’s all-time greats in gymnastics.
The Gabby Douglas Story will be produced by Sony Pictures Television. Zev Braun and Philip Krupp (Lifetime’s A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story) will serve as executive producers, with David Rosemont (Lifetime’s Bonnie & Clyde) producing. Gregg Champion (The Cowboy Way, Lifetime’s Amish Grace) will direct from a script written by Maria Nation (Lifetime’s The Two Mr. Kissels).
ABOUT SONY PICTURES TELEVISION
Sony Pictures Television (http://www.sonypicturestelevision.com), a Sony Pictures Entertainment company, is one of the television industry’s leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, around the world and for a multitude of platforms. In addition to one of the industry’s largest libraries of award-winning feature films, television shows and formats, Sony Pictures Television (SPT) boasts a current program slate that includes top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. SPT has 18 wholly-owned or joint venture production companies in 15 countries outside the U.S. and also maintains offices in 32 countries. SPT’s worldwide television networks portfolio includes 124 channel feeds available in 159 countries, reaching more than 800 million households worldwide. SPT also creates original content for and manages SPE’s premium video website, Crackle. Additionally, SPT owns production company Embassy Row and is a part owner of cable channel Game Show Network (GSN), 3D channel 3net, premier horror/thriller website and VOD service FEARnet and national U.S media sales company ITN Networks, Inc. SPT advertiser sales is one of the premier national advertising sales companies and handles the commercial inventory in SPT’s syndicated series as well as in U.S. digital businesses including FEARnet, DrOz.com and PlayStation.
Lifetime is a premier female-focused entertainment destination dedicated to offering the highest quality original programming spanning scripted series, non-fiction series and movies. In 2012, as a result of its aggressive programming strategy that doubled the hours of original programming, Lifetime posted its strongest year-on-year growth among the key demographics in 10+ years, while also reaching its youngest median age in 16 years.