Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade have teamed with Ciara and Russell Wilson to turn NFL alum Vernon Turner’s life story into a film. The project will be based on Turner’s self-published book “The Next Level: A Game I Had To Play.” Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions and Wade’s 59th and Prairie Entertainment will produce the film with Wilson and Ciara’s Why Not You Productions, per deadline.com. The film will show Turner’s journey to the National Football League playing for teams like the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers through the 90s, despite often being told he would never be drafted into the professional league. In a statement, Turner said: “My most important mission is for this project to have the right group of individuals in place to help tell my story. Well, I struck ‘platinum’ with the additions of the talented actress/producer Gabrielle Union and her husband/future Hall of Fame NBA star Dwyane Wade, along with accomplished recording artist Ciara and her husband/NFL’s star quarterback Russell Wilson, joining my steadfast producers Brett Gursky, Josh Surkin, and Nicholas Katsapas from Magic Hour, and our unbelievably gifted writer Brad Gann.
“I truly feel we have the right ingredients to accomplish my mission, which is to help change and save lives. My journey is an extremely powerful tale that must be told and, at the end of the day, I want this film to have a global impact. I came into this world under horrific circumstances, but I want to leave it with a legacy where my parents above will look down with enormous pride- and give a wink of approval.” Wade, Union, Wilson and Ciara said a joint statement: “
After reading Vernon’s “Letter to My Younger Self,” we all learned so much more about this man than what was presented to us growing up. His story isn’t just one of an accomplished athlete. It’s a story of resilience, family and the will to survive by any means possible. We consider ourselves to be survivors of our own personal struggles who have also come out on the other side and couldn’t be more excited to tell this story together. Once we read Brad Gann’s script, we knew we had to get this made.
This is truly a story of black excellence.