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A Dance Drama Series Inspired By Misty Copeland’s Life Is in Development at Fox

A Dance Drama Series Inspired By Misty Copeland's Life Is in Development at Fox

Add this to the growing list of current or upcoming Misty Copeland film/TV projects…

Sundance Selects opened Nelson George’s documentary, “A Ballerina’s Tale” – a film about Copeland – a week ago, October 14 (It’s also now available on Amazon and iTunes for those who don’t live in cities where it’s in theaters). And earlier this year, New Line Cinema optioned film rights to Copeland’s memoir, “Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina,” which recounts her early struggles as a young dancer living in a welfare motel with her family. The book provides an insider’s look at the cutthroat world of professional ballet, telling a moving story of dreams and perseverance. Also announced this year, the Oxygen network revealed plans for “The Misty Copeland Project,” a series that will follow the star ballerina as she trains and mentors talented hopefuls from diverse backgrounds, who descend upon New York City to take on the next major step in their ballet careers.

Announced today, Copeland has teamed up with scribe and actor Tracy Oliver (“Barbershop 3,” “Survivor’s Remorse,” “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl”) for a dance-focused drama series inspired by her life, which is currently set up at Fox. The potential series won’t tell Copeland’s story exactly, but will borrow elements from her life to tell a fictionalized story that centers on a diverse group of aspiring dancers who are in fierce competition for slots in the most prestigious American Ballet Theatre company.

Copeland will executive produce the Fox drama along with Oliver, Brian Dobbins, Peter Principato and Paul Young.

No ETA yet, although Fox is certainly lining up potential slot fillers (with diverse – more specifically, black casts) for the next (2016/2017) TV season, especially as its current crop of new/recent series aren’t exactly setting Nielsen ratings on fire, and will likely not be renewed (some of them anyway). Just yesterday, the network announced that a TV series based on the “Think Like a Man” movie and book franchise was in development. 

Were the Copeland/Oliver drama go to series, it’ll be the second ballet-themed serial on TV; Starz will premiere “Flesh and Bone” on November 8 – a new series that follows an emotionally troubled dancer who joins a company in New York City, and soon finds herself immersed in the tough and often cutthroat world of professional ballet.

I should also note that, another ballerina of African descent, Michaela DePrince (born Mabinty Bangura) – a Sierra Leonean-American ballet dancer, who, with her adoptive mother, Elaine DePrince, authored a bio – will see her life story unfold on the big screen in a feature film currently set up at MGM that will be directed by Sana Hamri (“Something New”).

Deadline was first to report the news of the Copeland/Oliver pairing.

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