Relativity acquired the worldwide rights to finance, produce and distribute the film. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh will produce , with Johnson, Johnson's manager Dany Garcia, Relativity President Tucker Tooley and Rick French (chairman & CEO of Raleigh-based French/West/Vaughan), executive producing. Bret Dahl will oversee the project for Relativity. Hiram Garcia is an executive producer.
Schuyler is a former football player and personal trainer in Tampa. He said: "I'm humbled that Relativity was interested in paying tribute to Marquis, Corey and Will, and I was impressed with their vision for the film and how they wanted to honor how these guys lived and loved their families, friends and teammates."
Robbie Brenner, president of production for Relativity, added: "Nick Schuyler's book is extremely moving, and Relativity is proud to work with the Rock, Nick and the entire team on creating a movie that honors this powerful story."
Johnson has had a huge year with four films already out, including Snitch, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Pain and Gain and Fast and Furious 6. G.I. Joe and Fast and Furious 6 both earned over $400 million worldwide. This will be a more dramatic role for Johnson than the action-oriented films he's normally done. He played football for the University of Miami Hurricanes in the 1990s and is aware of the bond that football players build after years of playing together.
Here's a synopsis of the book: On February 28, 2009, Nick Schuyler, a twenty-four-year-old personal trainer, left for a deep-sea fishing trip with three friends: NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, and Will Bleakley, his best friend, who once played football for the University of South Florida.
It was supposed to be a day of fun and relaxation aboard Cooper's twenty-one-foot boat, which anchored seventy miles west of Tampa, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico. The friends were out to catch some amberjack and grouper and maybe a few sharks. They planned to drink a few beers, have some laughs, and get home before an approaching cold front hit.
As the seas began to swell and the winds picked up in the late afternoon, they packed their gear and decided to head to shore. One problem. The anchor was stuck.
Inexperienced boaters, they made what would become a fatal mistake, tying the anchor rope to the stern of the boat and hitting the throttle. The anchor did not yank free. Instead, the stern sank and filled with water, and the boat capsized.
And so the nightmare began. The men had to forage for life jackets beneath the boat. They had no emergency beacon to alert authorities, and their cell phones didn't work so far out in the Gulf. With no food or water, the men clung to the overturned hull through the night as the seas roughened and the cloudy sky became inky black. They were continuously tossed from the boat by brutal waves, and sometimes found each other only by swimming toward their friends' voices.
During the rare lull, they would pray and talk about the ones they loved, what they would've done differently with their lives, and what they would do once they returned home. As the hours passed, the four friends, who had grown up as athletes, worked as a team in their desperate bid to survive. They battled hypothermia, hallucinations, hunger, dehydration, and huge waves.