Lebron James and his SpringHill Entertainment production company are teaming with Octavia Spencer to bring Madam C.J. Walker's life to screen. Spencer is slated to star in the limited series, while James and his SpringHill co-founder, Maverick Carter, will executive produce. Sources tell Variety that Netflix is interested in the series, but had no comment when asked about their involvement.
The series is based on the book “On Her Own Ground” by A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, who will also serve as a consultant on the series.
Walker, the daughter of slaves, was orphaned at age seven, married at 14, and widowed at 20. She spent two decades laboring as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a week. However, everything changed following Walker’s discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women. By the time she died in 1919, she had built a beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women. She counted W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington among her friends.
With Nicole Asher set to write, Spencer starring, and James and Springhill on board as producers, the package was presented to potential buyers, with Netflix acting fast and the favorite to land the series.
“I am really proud of this project and that SpringHill will be partnering with Octavia to tell this important story,” James said. “Every American should all know the story of Madam C.J. Walker. She was an innovator, entrepreneur, social activist, and total game changer whose story has been left out of the history books. I hope this project lives up to her legacy with a story that will educate and inspire.”
Zero Gravity and Warner Bros. will partner on the production.
Launched in 2013, SpringHill has quietly become a big force in the entertainment industry. Although the company, which partnered with Warner Bros. in 2015, didn’t produce any series that were picked up this pilot season, they sold three pilot pitches to broadcast networks while producing the hit Starz series “Survivor’s Remorse.” The company is also producing a comedy for HBO set in an L.A. sneaker store.
Spencer’s hit film “Hidden Figures” earned her an Oscar nomination. She followed up the role with Summit Entertainment’s “The Shack” and Fox Searchlight’s “Gifted.” The actress can be seen next in Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War fantasy “The Shape of Water,” which is already gaining award season buzz.
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