Hyde Park Entertainment and Warner Music Group (WMG) have joined forces in order to bring the story of the legendary African American tennis icon Arthur Ashe to the big screen after receiving full support from the Arthur Ashe Estate. The biopic will be written by Academy Award winner Kevin Willmott, co-writer of BlacKkKlansman and the newly released film Da 5 Bloods.
Ranked no. 1 in the world in 1968, Ashe became the only Black man to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open––all during one of the most volatile and racially charged eras in American history. The biopic will follow his inspiring sporting story and how he endured despite resistance. It will also focus on his personal life, and the immense courage he demonstrated as he revealed to the world his battle with HIV/AIDS. Ashe spent the last year of his life raising awareness and educating the world about the disease, which was crucial during a time where there was a plethora of misinformation.
According to IndieWire, the movie will also embody the unparalleled creativity and music that was birthed during these times, including the works of Prince, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and more.
Former Wimbledon pro Ashok Amritraj will produce the film for his company Hyde Park Entertainment. “What gives the film a special touch is that Amritraj himself played Ashe in the mid-1970s in St Louis, Missouri. He lost, but his admiration for his opponent, both on and off the court, remains undimmed,” wrote The Guardian.
“Arthur’s legacy reaches far beyond his greatness as a tennis player,” Amritraj said. “Always a gentleman; bold, graceful, and intellectual; while at the same time passionate in his fight against racial inequality and injustice, I am honored to bring Arthur’s story to the screen.”
Executive producers for the biopic include Ashe’s wife Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, Hyde Park’s Priya Amritraj and Addison Mehr, along with Alexandra Dell.