Disney is looking to develop a new inspirational film based on Texas high school teacher Lynn Shaw. Shaw transformed a run down drama department at J.J. Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas, into one of the country's top theater programs. She died from breast cancer in August of of 2009 after she beat it for nine years.
Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are producing the film through their Disney based production company Millar/Gough Ink, and they've brought in Erin Brockovich screenwriter Susannah Gran to write the script. They are also currently developing a big budget feature film called Hover Car Racer.
According to Variety, "the producers sparked to the idea of a film about Shaw last year after watching a Nightline segment on the teacher that revolved around her former students at J.J. Pearce coming together to perform a musical about her life. The production was initially developed with Shaw, but when she died, the students still went forward with the show."
Disney wants to carry on their tradition of making inspirational films for family audiences, most of them so far have been sports movies like Miracle, The Rookie, Remember the Titans and Secretariat. But this takes a departure from the inspirational sports films. With the rise of popularity in musical films and TV shows like Glee, this kind of story has been primed for audiences.
Disney wants to continue using such pics to round out a slate filled with bigger-budgeted tentpoles like the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, Marvel superhero actioners and animated features. This one takes a story of a woman who made a practice of reaching out to students who may not have thought about performing in theater in the first place. Gough had this to say in a statement,
Neither Miles nor I are huge sports people, but it was a way to capture the emotion of those movies that appeal to a wide audience. For us, (Shaw's story) also falls into that kind of vein, but as opposed to a coach-players relationship, it's a teacher-students relationship.