[08/27/08 - 11:37 AM]
Oscar(R) Winner Cuba Gooding JR. to Star in TNT Original Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, a Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation(R) Movie
The movie, based on Carson's inspirational memoir, will "trace his journey from frustrated inner-city kid to director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital."

[via press release from TNT]


Film to Be Based on Neurologist's Inspirational Memoir

Oscar� winner Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire) has been cast to play Dr. Benjamin S. Carson in the new TNT Original movie GIFTED HANDS: THE BEN CARSON STORY, according to an announcement today by Michael Wright, senior vice president in charge of the Content Creation Group for TNT, TBS and TCM. The movie, based on Carson's inspirational memoir, is a JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION� that will trace his journey from frustrated inner-city kid to director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.

GIFTED HANDS comes to TNT from Sony Pictures Television, MAGNA Global Entertainment, Thomasfilm and The Hatchery LLC. Dan Angel (TNT's Door to Door), Margaret Loesch (Benji: Off the Leash), Bruce Stein (The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It), Erin Keating and Thomas Carter (Coach Carter) serve as executive producers on the project. The script for GIFTED HANDS was written by John Pielmeier and will be directed by Carter. The Hatchery optioned the book GIFTED HANDS and brought the project and Carter to TNT and Sony Pictures Television.

"GIFTED HANDS is more than just an inspirational tale of overcoming seemingly impossible odds to succeed," Wright said. "It's that rare story of finding something deeper and more meaningful in life, while facing the challenges of the world with faith, hope and courage. We are honored to be making this film and to have Cuba Gooding Jr. in the lead role. He is truly one of the most gifted actors working today."

Helen Verno, executive vice president of movies and miniseries for Sony Pictures Television, said, "We are very pleased that Cuba Gooding Jr. � a brilliant, Academy Award�-winning actor � will portray Dr. Ben Carson in his journey to overcome poverty and become a world-renowned neurosurgeon who saves and transforms children's lives."

The project is the latest JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION� movie to appear on TNT. "Johnson & Johnson is proud to be bringing the story of Ben Carson's extraordinary life to families across America," said Kim Kadlec, chief media officer, Johnson & Johnson Global Marketing Group.

Carson's memoir, which was crafted with Cecil Murphey, describes life as a child on the mean streets of Detroit. Carson faced difficulties early on, when his father abandoned the family. "All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my mother," Carson wrote. Carson's mother pushed her son to become the best he could be through education. Carson recalled her saying over and over to him, "Bennie, if you can read, honey, you can learn just about anything you want to know. The doors of the world are open to people who can read."

With a new pair of glasses and encouragement to spend time at his local library, Carson dove into the world of books. His scholastic performance improved dramatically. He went on to college and medical school, refusing to give up on the dream he and his mother had for his future, even when prejudice and negative peer pressure threatened to stand in his way. Carson is now a best-selling author and director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, where he pours everything he has into helping young people overcome their medical limitations and fulfill their own dreams.

Carson was recently named a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. President George W. Bush bestowed the honor on him at a ceremony in June. In the White House announcement, Carson was honored for working throughout his career "to improve the lives of those suffering from neurological disorders. His groundbreaking contributions to medicine and his inspiring efforts to help America's youth fulfill their potential have strengthened our nation."

Cuba Gooding Jr. was most recently seen opposite Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's American Gangster. He earned an Academy Award for his dynamic, breakthrough performance in Jerry Maguire, for which he also received a Screen Actors Guild Award� and a Golden Globe� nomination. He is a six-time nominee for the NAACP Image Award�, an honor he won for his performance in the drama Radio.

Gooding's career began with John Singleton's critically acclaimed Boyz n the Hood. He followed that with a strong supporting role in Rob Reiner's A Few Good Men. Gooding's extensive list of feature film credits also includes Outbreak, As Good as It Gets, What Dreams May Come, Instinct, Men of Honor, Shadowboxer and Pearl Harbor. He recently completed production on Kevin Bray's drama Linewatch and an untitled horror thriller with Ray Winstone and Ron Perlman.

Thomas Carter is a three-time Emmy� winner � two for directing and one for executive producing HBO's Don King: Only In America. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Director's Guild of America Award, and he has been honored with the George Foster Peabody Award.

GIFTED HANDS is the 10th TNT Original to be produced under the JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION� movie banner. Past presentations include the critically acclaimed, Peabody Award-winning Door to Door, starring Emmy winner William H. Macy; Miss Lettie and Me, starring Mary Tyler Moore and Burt Reynolds; Wilder Days, starring Peter Falk and Tim Daly; The Winning Season, with Matthew Modine and Kristin Davis; the Emmy-nominated The Wool Cap, which re-teamed Door to Door's Macy and writer/director Steven Schachter; 14 Hours, with JoBeth Williams, Rick Schroder and Kris Kristofferson; The Engagement Ring, a romantic comedy/drama starring Patricia Heaton; The Ron Clark Story, starring Emmy nominee Matthew Perry; and A Perfect Day, a holiday tale starring Rob Lowe.

The JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION� movie series development effort was initiated by Interpublic's MAGNA Global Entertainment. Johnson & Johnson has long supported the creation of quality programming, and through the JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION� movie series, the company's advertising affiliate has collaborated with TNT to bring inspirational stories to the American viewing public.

MAGNA Global Entertainment (MGE), part of The Interpublic Group of Companies, is a market leader in the creation of integrated branded content. Leveraging its expertise in content development, brand planning, marketing, and content distribution, MGE brings together top flight talent, distribution partners, and Fortune 500 companies to create powerful branded entertainment experiences that connect, engage, and interact with viewers at every touchpoint. Notable successes include the four-time Emmy-nominated JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION� movie The Wool Cap and the six-time Emmy-winning JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION� movie Door to Door; the critically acclaimed hit series The Restaurant on NBC and Blow Out on Bravo; and the CBS television movie Saving Milly, sponsored by members of the Family Friendly Programming Forum.

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is one of the television industry's leading content providers. SPT produces and distributes top-rated, award-winning programming in every genre, including series, movies and family entertainment for network and cable television; first-run syndicated series; off-network syndicated programs; and theatrical releases. SPT (www.sonypicturestelevision.com) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.

The Hatchery LLC develops and produces family entertainment for all media. Included in its slate of projects in the works is R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour, a trilogy of movies based on the best-selling author's hit book of the same title; a multiple television-movie adaptation of the V.C. Andrews series of novels (Flowers in the Attic, Ruby, The Runaways); the world's largest and longest running paperback original franchise; a movie and television series based on one of the top 100 best-selling book series The Great Brain; and a theatrical remake of Leslie Bricasse's beloved musical Scrooge, based on the Dickens's classic. In December 2004, American Greetings Corporation (NYSE: AM), one of the world's largest manufacturers of social expression products, acquired a significant ownership stake in The Hatchery.

Turner Network Television (TNT), television's destination for drama and one of cable's top-rated networks, offers original series, including the acclaimed and highly popular detective drama The Closer, starring Kyra Sedgwick; Saving Grace, starring Holly Hunter; Raising the Bar, starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Gloria Reuben and Jane Kaczmarek; Leverage, starring Timothy Hutton; and Trust Me, with Eric McCormack and Tom Cavanagh. TNT is also home to powerful one-hour dramas, such as Bones, Cold Case, Law & Order, Without a Trace, ER and Charmed; broadcast premiere movies; compelling prime-time specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards�; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is available in high-definition.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.

  [august 2008]  


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