EXCLUSIVE: De’Adre Aziza (She’s Gotta Have It) is the latest addition to the cast of MGM’s boxing drama Flint Strong, marking the feature directorial debut of Oscar-nominated DP Rachel Morrison. She joins an ensemble led by Ryan Destiny, which also includes Oluniké Adeliyi and Brian Tyree Henry, as previously announced.
The film based on Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper’s 2015 documentary, T-Rex, tells 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. Aziza is playing Mickey—the wife of Henry’s Jason Crutchfield, who coaches Shields.
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 serving as executive producers. Elishia Holmes is overseeing the project for the studio.
Aziza landed a Tony Award nom for her roles in the acclaimed Broadway musical Passing Strange, and is otherwise perhaps best known for her turn as Raqueletta Moss in Spike Lee’s Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It. She plays Marshall Gwen Meredith in Starz’s Power Book II: Ghost, and just finished shooting the second season of the premium cabler’s show Run the World, reprising her role as Donda Baptiste. She is represented by McKegney Management and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller.
EXCLUSIVE: Arden Myrin (Insecure) has signed on to star in the indie mockumentary Step Aside from director Rebekka Johnson.
The film centers on dance world diva Suzzi Saddlersack (Myrin)—the ultimate choreographer and dance drill sergeant, who stops at nothing to push her team to the top. To say she has a bit of a temper is an understatement, but her rage is fueled by passion for dance and passion for winning. When Suzzi started out, she was the queen of the dance world and believed she was on track to be the next Paula Abdul. After her best friend betrayed her and cheated to beat her, a dance rivalry began that continues to this day. Suzzi is selfish, competitive and ruthless, but totally charismatic and hilarious. Ultimately, she has to face her past to heal and realizes that winning isn’t everything. But it’s high up there on the list. Additional cast set for the pic includes Tahani Anderson, Amari Smith, Merrick Hanna, Ellarose Kaylor, Gia Lopez, Markell Washington and Imogene Elias.
Kristi Kaylor is producing the comedy penned by Johnson and Molly Anne Coogan, with Adam Shaheen and Jennifer McCaffrey serving as its executive producers. The production companies involved are The Loft Entertainment and Cuppa Coffee Studios USA.
Myrin is a former MADtv cast member who has also been seen on such series as Insecure, The Goldbergs, Insatiable and Shameless, along with films like Bachelorette, Morning Glory and Evan Almighty. She’ll next be seen playing a supporting role opposite Kevin Bacon in Kyra Sedgwick’s film Space Oddity, which made its world premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. She is repped by Innovative Artists and Vault Entertainment.
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