Taraji P. Henson gets a 'Rough' role

Inspired by first female coach of NCAA Division 1 men's team

Taraji B. Henson is playing from the white tees.

In "From the Rough," the Oscar-nominated "Curious Case of Benjamin Button" actor will take on a role inspired by Dr. Catana Starks, the first female head coach of an NCAA Division 1 men's team. Gyre Entertainment is producing the sports drama, which begins filming in New Orleans in early October.

Henson will play a fictionalized version of Starks named Cassandra Turner, who parlays a successful stint as coach of the women's swim team at a historically black college into a shot at building the men's golf team. With available black players scarce, Turner scours Europe, Australia and Asia for hidden talents and constructs a uniquely multi-racial team. (In real life, Starks was the golf coach at Tennessee State University.)

"This extraordinary film explores one's ability to transform life's rough circumstances into distinct advantages," said director-producer Pierre Bagley. "It confronts issues of race, gender, class and cultural barriers in ways that are provocative, and sometimes hilarious.

Michael A. Critelli wrote the screenplay and will be an executive producer along with Kevin E. Hooks.

Repped by Paradigm and Vincent Cirrincione Associates, Henson most recently appeared in "The Karate Kid," "Date Night" and "I Can Do Bad All By Myself." She will next star in the Viddywell Prods. drama "The Good Doctor" and the Tom Hanks-directed Universal comedy "Larry Crowne."
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