EXCLUSIVE: Gravitas Ventures has secured the worldwide distribution rights to Blackjack: The Jackie Ryan Story, the Danny A. Abeckaser-directed biopic based on life and career of legendary New York City street basketball player Jackie Ryan in the 1990s. The film stars Greg Finley (Secret Life of An American Teenager) in the title role, as well as with David Arquette, Brandon Thomas Lee, Ashley Greene, Robert Davi, Bo Dietl, and James Madio. It’s slated for a limited theatrical release in October with a worldwide release to follow.
Antonio Macia penned the screenplay. Describes as a hot-tempered, flamboyant, and self-centered streetball legend, Ryan’s dreams of playing professional basketball seem to have passed him by after years of hard partying and neglect. He works construction alongside his overbearing father (Arquette), and his wisecracking best friend Marty (Madio). After being spotted at the famous West 4th basketball court for his incredible talent, Ryan is invited to try-out for the New Jersey Nets and is forced to confront his inner demons, family conflicts, relationship drama, and turn his life around.
The pic features cameos from Michael Rapaport, Sean Avery, Ben Lyons, and The Harlem Wizards. Abeckaser, who worked closely with the real Jackie Ryan, produced the pic through his 2B Films production company, alongside Vincent Maggio. Exec producers are Isaac Gindi, David Gindi, and Ron Rofe.
“I’m so excited to be working with Gravitas on Backjack,” said Abeckaser “They really understood and appreciated Jackie’s journey, and I can’t wait for people to see this film, which was a true passion project. We spent two years working on the movie behind the scenes and finished production this past fall. To be able to finally debut it on the big screen with Gravitas as our partner, is beyond exciting.”
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