Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions has landed its first major project with Warner Bros. TV. With the help of S.W.A.T.'s Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Waithe's Hillman Grad Productions will produce a serial adaptation of the classic basketball documentary, Hoop Dreams. According to Variety, Waithe's Warner Bros. TV project will appear on “all platforms, including WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, external streaming services, cable and the five broadcast networks.”
Waithe is not the first creative who has hoped to adapt the classic documentary. In 1994, TNT had hoped to create a scripted film inspired by the documentary, but it never came to fruition. With Waithe's roots in Chicago and experience creating popular series like The Chi and Twenties, Warner Bros. TV believes that she can bring the Hoop Dreams story to a new generation.
“We are excited to work with Hillman Grad, Playground and Warner Bros. Television on adapting Hoop Dreams into a scripted television series. There’s been quite a bit of interest over the years since the film came out in 1994, but Lena Waithe is the ideal Chicagoan to lead the effort to finally make it happen," the documentary's original producers, Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx, told Variety.
Expectations for Waithe's first Warner Bros. TV project will hard to meet considering the success of the original film. Released in 1994, Hoop Dreams follows the story of high school basketball hopefuls William Gates and Arthur Agee as they tried to make the leap from St. Joseph High School to college basketball and the NBA. To tell this story, James, Gilbert and Marx recorded upwards of 200 hours of footage over the course of five years and condensed it to 170 minutes. Esquire, Bleacher Report, IMDb and several other outlets consider it to be one of the greatest sports documentaries ever created.