Arthur Ashe receiving his championship trophy at the US Open in 1968
Arthur Ashe receiving his championship trophy at the US Open in 1968

You might recall Boris Kodjoe (a pretty good tennis player himself) shared during a 2012 interview (while plugging “Resident Evil: Retribution” which he co-starred in) that he’s a big fan of Arthur Ashe, and considers him one of his heroes. He further mentioned that there was an Arthur Ashe script in circulation at the time that he would’ve liked to star in.

He then added that there were several film industry fans of tennis; specifically, he named David Fincher as one of those filmmakers who loves the sport. So of course, I had to wonder if maybe that was a nod to what director he’d like helming the project (with him starring in it of course), if it were to happen.

“It’s a very important story that should be told,” Kodjoe said to the website, and I’m sure most of us would agree on that. Ashe was not only an athlete, he used his notoriety to further various social causes he deemed important.”

An Arthur Ashe project starring Kodjoe never did become a reality (at least, nothing that was made public). That’s really the only public mention of an Arthur Ashe biopic I’m aware of since this blog was launched. Of course it doesn’t mean that there haven’t been others.

Announced today, writer Krystin Ver Linden and producers Russell Hollander, John Schoenfelder and Russell Ackerman have teamed up to bring Ashe’s life story to the big screen.

No further details are available on the project at this time, other than that it will cover both Ashe’s professional and personal lives as the first African American to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and the first African American man to be ranked No. 1 in the world. It will also delve into his health problems (he contracted HIV from a blood transfusion), and activism (raising awareness about HIV and AIDS, starting the Arthur Ashe Foundation, protesting the United States’ treatment of Haitian refugees, and more).

Arthur Ashe died in New York City on February 6, 1993, from AIDS-related pneumonia. He was just 49 years old. Four days later, he was laid to rest in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Some 6,000 people attended the service.

On June 20, 1993, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then USA President Bill Clinton.

The feature film on his life is currently being packaged to be shopped to studios and financiers. No director is attached at this time. To play Ashe, I’d suggest a relative *unknown* would probably be best. Who would you cast?

No ETA at this time.

Deadline was first to report the news of this new Ashe project.