By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 2, 2014 at 1:34PM
Dwayne Johnson-Cochran is attached to direct Shirley MacLaine and possibly William Hurt (he's interested but nothing official has been announced yet) in the upcoming adaptation of a novel titled Men Of Granite by author Dan Manoyan.
The book tells the story of a group of immigrant kids who were Hungarian, Armenian, Yugoslavian, and Macedonian growing up in Granite City, Illinois, who went on to become the 1940 state basketball champions. A teacher, Sophie Prather saw something in the struggling kids and introduced them to the Recreation Center where they began to play basketball together. But as the town was divided economically and socially, it was seemingly impossible for these kids to compete on the high school level, until Coach Bozarth goes against the town's wishes and decides to play them as a team.
MacLaine will play the school teacher who stood up against bigotry and mentored them. William Hurt, if he does join the cast, would be playing the coach.
Johnson-Cochran will direct the movie, which was previously titled The Boys Of Lincoln Place.
This will be his second scripted feature film directorial effort. Previously, he directed a comedy/romance titled Love and Action in Chicago (1999), and, since then, has been behind a number of documentaries. He also penned the screenplay adaptation for what would've been Angela Bassett's feature directorial debut, Book of the Year, based on Percival Everett's Erasure.
Bassett and Courtney B. Vance recently jointly came on board as executive producers on Johnson-Cochran’s riveting documentary Be Known: The Mystery of Kahil El’Zabar, about the legendary avant garde jazz musician.