It's no secret that Miami Heat star LeBron James has wanted to get into the film business for the past few years and with his numerous high-profile connections and king-like stature in the sports world, it was only a matter of time before he put a major project together.
A few months back, we learned James would be producing a basketball comedy series at Starz based on his own experiences, but this week James assembled even bigger talent (figuratively) for a studio-produced feature film that will have him front and center.
Deadline is reporting that stand-up comedian/actor Kevin Hart has signed on to star with James in a sports comedy titled Ballers for Universal Pictures. The deal will also have Hart co-write the script about a man (Hart) who lives in the shadow of his famous and successful NBA star brother (James), until he gets a chance to prove himself at a weekend fantasy basketball camp in Miami. Brian Grazer and Michael Rosenberg will produce the film, which is tentatively set to shoot in Miami next summer (when James is free following the 2013-2014 NBA season).
With James standing at 6'8" and Hart at 5'3", the project is already drawing plenty of comparisons to the 1988 comedy Twins, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as an unlikely pair of long lost brothers. Considering that a sequel to Twins has been in development for quite some time, maybe Ballers will finally fill the slapsticky tall guy-short guy comedic void.
While the set-up definitely has some built-in schlock, Hart's involvement lends the film plenty of promise. Not only is he a rising star in the film comedy world - with starring roles in upcoming buddy cop comedy Ride Along and rom-com sequel Think Like a Man Too - but as one of comedy's biggest working stand-up acts, Hart could certainly fill the script with enough laughs to make Ballers enjoyable.
James and Hart's real-life friendship could also provide the film with genuine chemistry. A movie like this only works if its leads can play well off one another; considering that James is one of the NBA's premier passing forwards and Hart is known for generating big laughs, the pairing could be a comedic alley-oop.
Do you think James and Hart will make a good team? Are you interested in seeing Ballers? Let us know in the comments.
With the script still unfinished and a director not yet attached, the film is very much in the early stages of development. We'll be sure to pass along more updates as Ballers gets closer to tipping off.