A movie on the life of tennis legend Arthur Ashe, who was the first black tennis player to win the US Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon, is under works and is expected to be released by the end of next year.
A movie on the life of tennis champion Arthur Ashe
According to The Telegraph India, Ashok Amritraj, president of the Hyde Park Entertainment group, has announced the project.
Ashe’s widow, Jeanne, is an executive producer. The screenplay is being written by the Oscar winner Kevin Willmott, and Warner Music is a partner. Speaking about the film, Amritraj says the casting is yet to be decided and that the movie will be a healing story in the current divisive world.
"There’s half a dozen actors I can think of who would be amazing for the role — someone in his mid-twenties. I played him in the mid-70s at a WCT (World Championship Tennis) event in St Louis, Missouri. And we had a good match — he won.
Needless to say, 1968 was a very pivotal year for Ashe when he won the US Open because this followed the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr, as well as anti-Vietnam War and civil rights protests. I’ve been presented a lot of tennis movies over the years and nothing has ever struck my fancy.
This was one that always intrigued me. Many people have tried to do the Ashe story because it’s both inspiring and aspirational. In this time in a divisive world it’s very much a healing story. He is somebody who you compare to an Obama type of character”.
Arthur Ashe was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open. In the ATP world rankings, he peaked at No.
2 in May 1976. In the early 1980s, Ashe is believed to have contracted HIV from a blood transfusion he received during heart bypass surgery. Ashe publicly announced his illness in April 1992 and began working to educate others about HIV and AIDS.
He founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health before his death from AIDS-related pneumonia at age 49 on February 6, 1993. On June 20, 1993, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the United States President Bill Clinton.