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Disney said it has partnered with Griner to produce several projects based on her yearlong Russia detainment, including a documentary by ESPN Films and a limited series with ABC Signature.
The one-year anniversary since Brittney Griner was released from a Russian prison is being marked with the announcement that Disney is helping her tell her story.
The company issued a press release Thursday sharing news of its partnership with the nine-time WNBA All-Star to produce several multimedia projects based on her yearlong detainment in Russia, including a documentary by ESPN Films and a limited scripted series with ABC Signature.
According to Disney, which owns ABC and ESPN, Griner will also have an exclusive sit-down interview with “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts.
“The last two years have been the most harrowing, transformative and illuminating period of my life, and I am grateful to be in a place now to share my story with the world,” said Griner. “I’m proud to partner with ESPN and Disney to share this very personal story because of its incredible potential to inspire hope around the world and their proven ability to do just that.”
Disney shared that the documentary film will chronicle Griner’s life through exclusive video and rare archival information, including the events that led to her playing overseas, her detention and separation from her wife, Cherelle, her quest for freedom, and how she calls for releasing other unjustly jailed inmates.
Burke Magnus, ESPN’s president of content, described Griner as an exceptional athlete with extraordinary resilience in the face of adversity. He said the company was “thrilled to be working with her to tell the nuances of her story and feel confident that this documentary will captivate audiences everywhere.”
Cherelle Griner, who will serve as an executive producer on the projects, noted ESPN, ABC and Disney “were supportive and caring in regards to the human side” of her wife’s situation, both during her detainment and after.
Gerren Keith Gaynor
She went on to say that “love and family were at the center of the fight to get [Griner] home.”
Griner’s longtime agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, and Brillstein CEO Jon Liebman will also act as the projects’ executive producers.
Dec. 8 marks one year since the Biden administration secured Griner’s release from Russia in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The Phoenix Mercury star was serving a nine-year term in a Russian penal colony after being convicted of having cannabis at a Moscow airport in February 2022, just days after Russia launched its war against neighboring Ukraine. Since her return, Griner has used her influence to push for the release of fellow Americans “wrongfully detained” in other countries.
“We are honored that Brittney has entrusted us to share her story of hope, faith, and determination across our platforms,” said Debra O’Connell, president of Networks and Television Business Operations at Disney Entertainment. “Her unwavering perseverance that helped shape her as an athlete has now influenced her leadership as a human rights advocate.”
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