Miles Teller to Produce, Star in Survival Movie 'Not Without Hope'; Russell Wilson, Ciara Exec Producing (Exclusive)

Credit: Highland Film Group
Miles Teller, Russell Wilson and Ciara

Based on the book of the same name, the Cannes online market-bound film will recount a 2009 boating tragedy which saw four friends caught up in a violent storm in the Gulf of Mexico.

Miles Teller is set to play the lone survivor of a real-life boating tragedy in Not Without Hope, which Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson and Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Ciara will executive produce through their production company, Why Not You.

Directed by Rupert Wainwright (Stigmata, The Fog), the film is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Nick Schuyler and Jere Longman, from a screenplay by E. Nicholas Mariani. Highland Film Group will be launching international sales at the upcoming virtual Cannes market, with CAA Media Finance handling the domestic rights. 

A true story, Not Without Hope will see Teller — who broke out in Whiplash and will next be seen in Top Gun: Maverick — play Schuyler, who along with best friend Will Bleakley and NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, set off for in 2009 from Clearwater, Florida for a day trip to their favorite fishing spot 70 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico. However, as a severe storm headed their way, a trapped anchor and a tragic mistake in trying to free it caused the boat to capsize, throwing the four violently into the freezing water. With the U.S. Coast Guard air and sea rescue mission beaten back by the ferocity of the storm, the group had to fight to survive in the ultimate test of teamwork and endurance.

While Bleakley, Cooper and Smith would tragically succumb to hyperthermia, Schuyler was eventually rescued after 46 hours in the 60-degree waters.

Not Without Hope is being produced by Michael Jefferson of Volition Media Partners, Rick French of Prix Productions, Lucidity Entertainment’s Colin Bates and Teller’s Lime Tree Productions (marking the actor's first producing credit), in association with Wainwright’s Adore Creative.

Willie Kutner will also produce and James Dyer will executive produce, alongside Andrea Bucko, Wes Hull, Dave Lugo and Goldfinch Entertainment’s Kirsty Bell and Phil McKenzie. Voyager Entertainment Group is providing financing for the film with Hitesh Patel producing, and Aditya Jha, Mark Finley and Daniel Brandt executive producing. 

"We are very excited to help bring this inspiring true story to the big screen," said Highland Film Group CEO Arianne Fraser. "In today’s world of uncertainty, we definitely need feature films that are able to instill hope, courage and strength."

Not Without Hope was originally announced in 2014 as a star vehicle for Dwayne Johnson, who was set to play Schuyler. However, the project became caught up in the fallout of its then backers Relativity Media. 

Teller is represented by CAA and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher; Wainwright and French are represented by Buchwald.

Wilson and Ciara are represented by CAA and Untitled Entertainment's Jason Weinberg and Jordan Dinenberg, president of Why Not You Productions. Wilson is additionally represented by sports agent and attorney Mark Rodgers.