Rapper turned music entrepreneur and entertainment mogul Sean Combs -- perhaps still better known as "Puff Daddy" or "P. Diddy" -- has signed on as an executive producer of a planned fictionalized studio remake of "Undefeated," the made-in-Memphis football film that has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Feature Documentary.
Combs' involvement was announced Thursday by The Weinstein Company, which is distributing the film in theaters. "Undefeated" is set to open March 2 in Memphis at the Malco Paradiso.
As part of the Weinstein deal, Combs also becomes an after-the-fact "executive producer" of the documentary. The Weinstein Company bought distribution and remake rights to "Undefeated" after the film's debut in March at the South by Southwest Film Festival.
Inspired by a story in The Commercial Appeal, "Undefeated" was shot in Memphis in 2009 and 2010 by directors Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin and producer Rich Middlemas, who also plan to direct the remake. The film likely will cast name actors as real-life Memphians, as happened with "The Blind Side," starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw as Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy.
The documentary follows the once woefully underfunded and beleaguered Manassas High School football team for a season, as volunteer coach Bill Courtney and other mostly suburban fathers work to instruct the young inner-city players, both on and off the field.
-- John Beifuss: (901) 529-2394