Hair Love‘s Lion Forge is developing multiple new series’ and projects based on NASCAR’s first black racer, Wendell Scott, according to Deadline. Lion Forge, the studio behind the 2020 Oscar winning short film Hair Love is looking to bring Scott’s story to the world with the help of the Scott family’s fashion brand, Scott 34 Racing.
Scott’s story begins in rural Virginia where he was born in 1921. Jim Crow laws in America meant racial segregation was legal. His love and knowledge of cars was passed down from his father, and after he served in the segregated division as a mechanic in WWII, he was denied access to NASCAR due to him being black.
After nine years of racing in NASCAR’s competing league, the “Dixie Circuit” Scott was finally able to convince the organization to grant him a license to race in 1953, breaking the color barrier as the first Black American to race in the league.
Scott won the Jacksonville 200 race in 1963 but officials didn’t acknowledge it. They instead gave his win to a white driver on a “clerical error” it was later reversed. According to Deadline, Scott competed in 496 NASCAR races, finishing top ten in 147 of them. In 1973 Scott experienced a horrific near death crash which ended his career. Scott died of cancer in 1990 and was officially inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015 becoming the first in NASCAR history to do so.
Scott’s life story was first adapted for screen in 1977’s Greased Lightning which starred comedian/actor Richard Pryor (Harlem Nights) along with Pam Grier (Coffy). His life also inspired the character of River Scott in Disney’s Cars 3.
According to Deadline, David Steward II and the Wendell Scott Family plan to develop not only TV series and films but also games and other various digital content. The first of these multimedia projects will be a docuseries and a fictionalized limited series for TV and streaming services. The docuseries looks to tell his story through the lens of his life, it will cover themes of family, racism in the Jim Crow era, American culture and racing. The series will focus on Scott’s upbringing, time in WWII, bootlegging, raising a family, battling racism, overcoming adversity and winning.
Son of billionaire businessman David Steward, Steward II runs Lion Forge Animation one of the only black animation studios in the world. Lion Forge’s Steward II will work with Wendell Scott’s son, Frank Scott and grandson Warrick Scott, on all the content opportunities according to Deadline.
[Said Steward II: “It’s an honor and privilege to work with the Scott family to bring Wendell’s legacy to life in a multitude of ways, all of which carry the dual obligation to entertain while delivering an important message. What Jackie Robinson did for baseball in breaking the color barrier, Wendell Scott did for NASCAR. However, Wendell’s story transcends his sport, his personality, and his accomplishments to speak about the possibility of hope and drive. These are stories that need to be told – and retold.”
“Wendell Scott built a bridge to diversity in racing, so NASCAR needs to tell that story through the lens of Wendell Scott. He gave people hope because he had a big heart for everyone. He had more love in his heart than (his enemies) had hate in theirs,” commented Warrick Scott, Wendell’s grandson.
Added Frank Scott Sr: “The creation of this venture is the realization of a dream my father had 60 years ago, it’s everything that he wanted and could never get!” ] -via Deadline