Rachel Morrison eyes directing debut with Flint boxing drama

The Oscar-nominated cinematographer is developing a feature based on a script by Barry Jenkins.


Charles Bramesco


For a cinematographer, life doesn’t get much better than the one Rachel Morrison’s living right now. She earned plaudits (as well as the first Oscar nomination for a female director of photography) for her careful lensing of Dee Rees‘ southern epic Mudbound in 2017, and then scored a massive commercial hit the next year with Black Panther.

Now, with the world at her feet, she’s decided to make the jump to directing. Deadline has the exclusive that Morrison has signed on to helm her first feature-length effort, and that to further sweeten the deal, she’ll work from a screenplay drawn up by LWLies favorite Barry Jenkins.

That script has been tentatively titled Flint Strong, in reference to the Michigan city that sets the scene of this inspirational sporting drama. The film will fictionalize the true story of Claressa “T-Rex” Shields, an unstoppable teenage boxer intent on becoming the first woman to land an Olympic gold medal in her field.

She reached her goal at the 2012 games in London and then once more in Rio de Janeiro four years later, but all the while, her hometown slipped into an emergency state as pollution contaminated all available water supplies. The 2015 documentary simply titled T-Rex first chronicled this contrast, and Jenkins’ script will be credited as an adaptation of that earlier effort.

For Morrison, whose narrative has always been tied up in the barriers she’s broken on behalf of her fellow women, Shields’ life story will strike a familiar chord. The rest of us, however, will have to wait to see new work from the emerging director until the likely premiere of her latest cinematographer credit Against All Enemies (a.k.a. the movie in which Kristen Stewart plays Jean Seberg) at festivals this fall.

Published 20 Jun 2019

Tags: Barry Jenkins Rachel Morrison

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