Walt Disney Pictures is developing the dance drama Grace, which will center on a highly talented, disabled dancer.
Freddy Wexler, best known as the Grammy-nominated songwriter behind records from Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, is producing the project and will co-write the screenplay along with Kiera Allen, the wheelchair-using actress that made her feature debut opposite Sarah Paulson in the Hulu film Run. It’s unclear if the project, which is in early development, will land on streaming or in theaters.
The logline for the project reads: “The story centers around a promising 17-year-old dancer, who is left paralyzed from the waist down, after getting into a debilitating car accident; with the help of an exacting artistic director, she becomes the star of a premiere dance company.”
Said Wexler in a statement, “Grace’s journey is a reflection of so many real-life dancers, artists and athletes who push themselves to the limits. I am honored to be a part of the incredible team helping to further authentic representation and inclusive storytelling for the disabled community.”
Allen added: “I’m so excited to be working with Freddy, Chelsie, and Disney on this project. Grace is a beautiful story about self-expression, identity, and what it means to be an artist. And as a disabled artist myself, I’m proud to be part of this step forward for authentic representation.”
The project, based on an original story by Wexler, will be executive produced by Chelsie Hill, the longtime professional dancer and founder of the Rollettes, a Los Angeles-based wheelchair dance team. Hill, who herself was paralyzed after a car accident, will also act as a consultant.
Said Hill, “This story will inspire anyone who thinks they’re limited from pursuing their wildest dreams — I wish I’d had a film like this when I was first injured.”
Wexler, who is represented by CAA and Felker Toczek, has been branching into Hollywood, partnering with Westbrook Studios on musical fantasy film Soul Superhero, and the NFL on a documentary feature about Keith Adams, the Deaf football coach who led the California School for the Deaf Riverside on a historical season, as well as a separate narrative feature about Adams. (An unrelated Disney+ TV series will tell the story of the Riverside high school’s 2021 football season, when the team went undefeated and got all the way to the California State Championship. It will star CODA actor and Oscar winner Troy Kotsur.)
Allen is represented by Entertainment 360, A3, and Peikoff Mahan Law Office. Hill is represented by LABX25entertainment and Peikoff Mahan.