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Fox Searchlight is going to be embarking on telling the life story of legendary choreographer Alvin Ailey.
The studio has reached a deal to develop a film based on the life and work of the late choreographer, activist and founder of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in New York City, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The project is being developed with the cooperation of The Ailey Organization, which oversees the dance theater; Ailey II (another dance company focused on modern dance); The Ailey School; Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs; and Ailey Extension, which brings dance and fitness programs to the public. The production will partner with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater artistic director emerita Judith Jamison and artistic director Robert Battle in telling the story of Ailey’s life.
“We are incredibly excited about this special project with terrific partners highlighting one of the great African-American icons and artists,” Battle said Thursday in a statement to THR. “As we prepare to celebrate the Ailey company’s 60th anniversary this fall, his powerful legacy continues to touch the hearts, minds and spirits of people around the world.”
Fox Searchlight has additionally secured rights to Jennifer Dunning’s 1996 biography Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance.
In his early years as a dancer, Ailey worked on Hollywood productions including 1952’s Lydia Bailey and 1954’s Carmen Jones. He later appeared on Broadway shows including House of Flowers, penned by Truman Capote, and Sing, Man, Sing, starring Harry Belafonte, and formed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater troupe in 1958. The group became known as the “Cultural Ambassador to the World” due to its many overseas tours. Twenty-five years after Ailey died in 1989, he was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President Barack Obama.
AK Worldwide’s Judy Kinberg, Alicia Keys and Susan Lewis will produce the project, along with iDeal Partners’ Rachel Cohen and Jana Edelbaum.
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