Many of you weren’t too thrilled with last week’s news that Fox Searchlight had picked up a Basketball Wives-inspired pitch from producer Tracey Edmonds and Shaunie O’Neal (ex-wife of Shaquille O’Neal), that will be penned by Jumping The Broom co-writer Elizabeth Hunter.
The common concern seemed to be that the film would essentially be a direct big-screen expansion of the reality TV show.
But in an interview with Vibe magazine posted soon after the movie adaptation announcement, Ms O’Neal sought to set the record straight about the upcoming film, and hopefully calm any fears you might have for what the completed feature project will look, sound and feel like.
To wit… when asked to expand on news that the reality TV show was becoming a movie, she said this:
You don’t take a reality show and make it a movie. At least I wouldn’t. It’s not a quote, unquote “basketball wives movie.” Even though it has to do with basketball life, it’s not actually taking Basketball Wives from TV and making it a movie. And it’s not about women sitting around arguing or lunching all the time. It’s an actual story. It’s a love story. It’s an empowering story. It’s funny. It’s life. It’s similar—we’ve taken a girl who’s just going into the NBA life and experiencing things and showing the whole story. She learns from the organization. She learns from other wives. And by the end of the story, it’s empowering for women and men. It’s so nothing like the TV show at all. No comparison.
So there ya go… don’t expect Basketball Wives: The Movie.
And when asked about casting and at what stage the project currently sits, she added this:
We haven’t casted yet, but I wouldn’t call it a Black woman’s story. It’s going to be a multiracial cast. Of course, there will be Black women ’cause most of the NBA seems to be. But it is going to be multiracial… It’s really early. We literally just closed the deal Monday. Now we’re just getting all the next steps ready. Our writer is finishing the script and then we’ll be ready to do some auditions. This is a first for me and Tracy [Edmonds] has been absolutely wonderful in taking me under her wing and making me her partner for this. She’s been awesome on this step by step. ’Cause I’m like, ‘Okay what happens next? And how do we do this?’ She’s done this a few times; she’s a veteran, so she knows what she’s doing. I’m enjoying putting in my in the whole process.
And finally, she says that one of her motivations for wanting to make this movie is because “I needed some other ways to almost redeem myself. Like, this is not what I’m about people, [laughs] so let me show you,” speaking about the successful TV show she exec produces.
It’s a project that she says she’s going to “110 percent” proud of.