Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison’s feature directorial debut Flint Strong has moved from Universal to MGM, with Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) coming aboard to star, Deadline can confirm. Henry joins an ensemble that also includes Ryan Destiny and Oluniké Adeliyi, as previously announced.
The film will continue shooting next week in Toronto following a prolonged shutdown precipitated by the Covid pandemic. Henry takes over the role initially to have been played by Ice Cube, who worked on the project for just two days back in March of 2020, before production was indefinitely delayed.
Flint Strong is a boxing drama based on Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper’s 2015 documentary, T-Rex. It will tell the true story of Claressa “T-REX” Shields (Destiny), a 17-year-old Flint, Michigan native whose dreams of becoming the first woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing came to fruition at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Adeliyi is playing Shield’s father, Jackie, with Henry as her coach, Jason Crutchfield, who worked a cable job by day while training her by night. Crutchfield continues to train at Berston Field House today, while living in Flint with his family.
MGM is serving as the film’s producer, as well as its distributor. Oscar winner Barry Jenkins adapted the screenplay and is also producing, with Canepari, Cooper, Lyn Lucibello and Sue Jaye Johnson exec producing, and Elishia Holmes overseeing the project for MGM.
Henry is an Emmy and Tony Award nominee who stars alongside Donald Glover in FX’s acclaimed series Atlanta. He’ll also soon star opposite Brad Pitt in Sony’s Bullet Train, and with Jennifer Lawrence in an untitled, upcoming feature that Lila Neugebauer is directing for A24. The actor is currently in production as the lead in FX’s series, Class of ’09. He is represented by JWS Entertainment, CAA and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.