Rachel Morrison to Make Directorial Debut on Barry Jenkins-Penned True-Life Boxing Drama

The "Mudbound" and "Black Panther" cinematographer is in negotiations for "Flint Strong."
"Mudbound" DP Rachel Morrison
"Mudbound" DP Rachel Morrison
David Bomba

Oscar-nominated cinematographer Rachel Morrison is making another big move behind the camera, as Variety reports that the “Black Panther” and “Mudbound” talent is in negotiations to make her feature directorial debut. The project in question would make a strong fit for Morrison: it’s a true-life boxing drama that was penned by Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins and follows the story of 17-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields.

Shields’ life was already put on the screen thanks to the 2015 boxing documentary “T-REX” directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper. The new project will further follow the “Flint, Mich., native whose dreams of becoming the first woman in history to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing were realized at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Shields won a second gold medal in women’s middleweight boxing.”

The project is now going by the title “Flint Strong,” and will be shepherded to the big screen by Universal. The studio acquired Shields’ life rights and rights to the documentary in 2016.

Jenkins was hired to write the script in 2016, and per Variety, “had been eyeing the project as a potential directing vehicle for himself, but chose to stay on as a producer instead, making room for Morrison to take on the movie.”

Morrison made waves when she was nominated for her work on Dee Rees’ “Mudbound” back in 2018, though she ultimately lost out to Roger Deakins, as the beloved DP finally won his first Oscar for “Blade Runner 2049.” Morrison followed “Mudbound” with another starry turn, serving as cinematographer for Ryan Coogler’s Marvel hit “Black Panther.”

Last year, Morrison made waves by celebrating Female Filmmaker Friday by opening up about working while pregnant. In an Instagram post that soon went viral, the lenser wrote that she just wrapped production on “Against All Enemies” at eight months pregnant and, despite the common misconception, pregnancy is not “some kind of disability.” Morrison’s post opened up a new wave of discussion surrounding female filmmakers, and she’s been hailed for her honest attention to such an important topic.

Morrison recently wrapped shooting on Benedict Andrews’ upcoming Jean Seberg drama “Against All Enemies,” and also helmed the pilot for the Starz pilot “Hightown.” Her previous work also includes “Dope,” “Fruitvale Station,” and “Cake.”

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