Disney has announced that two-time Olympic gold medalist and nine-time WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner will partner exclusively with ESPN and Disney Entertainment Television to share her story through various projects on their platforms. A documentary feature from ESPN Films and scripted series development with ABC Signature are in the works. She will also sit down for her first exclusive interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts.
The documentary from ESPN Films will chronicle Griner’s transcendent story. In February 2022, while returning to her Russian team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, during the WNBA off-season, Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport for cannabis possession and later sentenced to nine years in prison. Despite outcries from the international sporting community and designation by the U.S. government as wrongfully detained, Griner was held under harsh conditions and prevented from speaking with her family for nearly a year. From the circumstances that led to her playing outside the U.S. despite being one of the best players in the sport to her harrowing detainment and the unwavering determination to secure her freedom, as well as her subsequent advocacy for the release of other wrongful detainees, the documentary will feature exclusive footage, recordings and letters to and from Griner during her time in prison.
Brittney Griner said in a statement:
“The last two years have been the most harrowing, transformative and illuminating period of my life, and I am grateful to be in a place now to share my story with the world. I’m proud to partner with ESPN and Disney to share this very personal story because of its incredible potential to inspire hope around the world and their proven ability to do just that.”
Brittney’s wife, Cherelle Griner, who will also serve as an executive producer on the projects, added:
“Throughout BG’s detainment and in the time since, ESPN, ABC and Disney were supportive and caring in regards to the human side of this saga. Love and family were at the center of the fight to get BG home, and with that in mind, there is no better, more trusted partner to tell that story with us.”
Griner’s longtime agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas (EVP Talent, Wasserman and The Collective) and Brillstein’s Jon Liebman (co-CEO, Brillstein) will serve as executive producers on behalf of Wasserman’s production company. Cherelle Griner will also serve as an executive producer.
Burke Magnus, president, Content, ESPN said in a statement:
“Brittney is an exceptional athlete whose hardship and resilience are nothing short of extraordinary. We are thrilled to be working with her to tell the nuances of her story and feel confident that this documentary will captivate audiences everywhere.”
Colas and Liebman stated:
“BG is a hero – across sport, culture and humanity. We are privileged to serve as a part of her life’s storytelling journey, and to partner with her and Cherelle to bring Brittney’s legacy to audiences worldwide. Through Disney, ABC and ESPN’s, global wide-ranging TV and film platform, Brittney’s story can be realized and experienced both creatively and realistically.”
The film will utilize exclusive footage and rare archival material to tell her story, including the circumstances that led to her playing overseas, her detainment and separation from her wife, the fight to gain her freedom, and her advocacy for the release of other wrongful detainees.
Griner’s life will also be developed for a limited series from ABC Signature.
Debra OConnell, president, Networks and Television Business Operations, Disney Entertainment added:
“We are honored that Brittney has entrusted us to share her story of hope, faith and determination across our platforms. Her unwavering perseverance that helped shape her as an athlete has now influenced her leadership as a human rights advocate.”
December 8th, 2023, marks the one-year anniversary since Brittney Griner was released from a Russian prison.
Premiere dates and further details on the projects and ABC News interview will be announced at a later date.
What do you think of Disney signing this new deal? Let us know on social media!