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Biopic to highlight tennis legend, civil rights activist Arthur Ashe

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Posted at 12:18 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 12:58:25-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- In 1975, the late Arthur Ashe won Wimbledon, his third career grand slam.

But perhaps even Richmond native's accomplishments on the tennis court, paled in comparison to what he did off it as a civil rights activist.

"There are other athletes and other black leaders who are using their positions of power and influence to will some practical progress so it's just simply saying to myself, Arthur you must do something. You just cannot sit by and let the world go by," said Ashe in an interview on PBS News Hour back on September 15, 1968.

Now, those accomplishments will be coming to the big screen in a yet to be made Hollywood movie.

"We've been hearing about grumblings for years about a possible movie occurring. So, it was finally good to hear that's it been solidified and it's going to be done," said David Harris Jr., Ashe’s nephew.

Harris lead the effort to rename The Boulevard after his uncle last year. He says the Ashe estate has given the project it's full support and hopes it's a proper depiction of who Ashe was and how he lived his life.

"He was able to cross boundaries that some of us thought we're impossible. That's one of those things that I try to hold true to myself," said Harris.

Hyde Park Entertainment Group, the company that will produce the film, released a statement.

"Arthur's legacy reaches far beyond his greatness as a tennis player. Always a gentleman; bold graceful, and intellectual; while at the same time passionate in his fight against racial inequality and injustice, I am honored to bring Arthur’s story to the screen," wrote Chairman and CEO Ashok Amirtraj.

"They've got a vision. And they're artists. They know their art form and so I’m going to trust them to make a really good film," Harris added.

Ashe’s nephew says he'll be interested to see who plays his uncle in the movie and hopes the tennis scenes will be as close to real as possible.

He also says he hopes that part of the movie is shot in Richmond like many projects that have been filmed here in the last few years.

"Hopefully they'll be able to show it in a very good light. And it can be another thing Richmond can be proud of," said Harris.

Watch Rob Desir's "Our RVA" reports Wednesdays on CBS 6 News at 4 and 5:30 p.m. If you know someone Rob should feature, email him at Rob.Desir@wtvr.com

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