Actress-singer Ryan Destiny, who played Alex Crane Jones on Fox’s Star, has been cast as Olympic champ Claressa ‘T-Rex’ Shields in Universal’s boxing movie Flint Strong, Collider has learned.
The project boasts a powerhouse trio behind the camera, as Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison (Mudbound) will make her feature directorial debut from a script by Oscar-winning writer Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), while Michael De Luca (The Social Network) will produce via his eponymous banner.
Flint Strong is based on the 2015 documentary T-Rex from Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper. The documentary followed 17-year-old Shields, who emerged from Flint, Michigan to become the first woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing. The studio acquired her life rights and the rights to the documentary back in 2016, sensing there was a movie in her inspirational story. Shields is also a survivor of sexual abuse, who found strength in her Christian faith, per her Wikipedia entry.
Three-time Oscar nominee De Luca will produce alongside Elishia Holmes and Jenkins, while Canepari and Cooper will executive produce with Sue Jaye Johnson, who produced the documentary. Universal executives Erik Baiers and Tony Ducret will oversee the project for the studio.
Morrison’s directorial debut is particularly noteworthy in that she was the first woman to be nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar thanks to her impressive work on Mudbound. She also served as Ryan Coogler‘s director of photography on Marvel’s Black Panther.
Destiny hails from Detroit, Michigan, and she can currently be seen on Freeform’s grown-ish. The singer-turned-actress first rose to fame as a member of the girl-group Love Dollhouse in 2013, and she went on to appear in several episodes of AMC’s Detroit-set crime series Low Winter Sun. Flint Strong is a major get for the young actress, who is no doubt eager to tackle the challenge of this physically and emotionally demanding role. Destiny is represented by UTA, Dawn Irons at 717 Management and Hansen Jacobson.
And if you’re a fan of boxing movies and want to know which ones you should watch that don’t feature Rocky Balboa, click here.