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Swoosh, there it is.
The story of Phil Knight and the creation of Nike is getting the biopic treatment via Netflix, which has picked up the rights to Knight’s best-selling memoir, Shoe Dog.
Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who wrote The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, are penning the script for the adaptation, which will be produced by Frank Marshall and Knight.
Shoe Dog was published in April 2016 and has been on the New York Times‘ best-seller list ever since. The book details the story of how Knight, fresh out of business school, borrowed $50 from his father to launch what eventually became an iconic worldwide sports brand. Knight went from selling shoes from the trunk of his car in 1963, grossing $8,000 in his first year, to having a company with annual sales of over $36 billion.
Shoe Dog chronicles the highs and lows of building the company, with one of the focuses being his relationship with his former track coach, Bill Bowerman.
Marshall, who first met Knight during the production of 1985’s Back to the Future, has been chasing the book since it was released.
“Ever since our collaboration on [Back to the Future] and being a runner myself, I’ve always been fascinated by Phil’s story and how the company came to be,” Marshall said Thursday in a statement. “It’s an amazing tale about what the path to success really looks like, with its mistakes, struggles, sacrifice and even luck. It’s about how a company can grow with the right people, dedication, a belief in the power of sport and a shared mission to build a brand that would change everything.”
Said Scott Stuber, head of Netflix’s film group: “We couldn’t be more excited to be making Shoe Dog with Phil Knight, one of the world’s business icons and a great storyteller. Phil created a brand and a company that became much more than the swoosh. Through innovation, passion, and trial and error, Phil created something that became a part of our culture. We can’t wait to share that with the world.”
He added: “This project is also giving us the ability to extend our relationship with world-class writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. They are fantastic collaborators and we are lucky to have them working with us, Frank and Phil and this project.”
The deal keeps Alexander and Karaszewski in the biopic game. The duo are known for such efforts as Ed Wood and The People vs. Larry Flynt, and most recently wrote Dolemite Is My Name. The latter, a biopic about the late performer Rudy Ray Moore, is currently in production at Netflix.
While Marshall is known for his action and adventure movies — he was a producer on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — he also has produced such acclaimed dramas as The Color Purple and Seabiscuit.
“I look forward to working with my friend, the great Frank Marshall, in bringing my story and the story of Nike to the screen,” said Knight. “I have been gratified by the reception my book has received and think that we can explain my journey and the story of Nike to an even larger audience in collaboration with Netflix.”
Alexander and Karaszewski are repped by CAA and Kleinberg Lange.
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