EXCLUSIVE: Former NFL player Andrew Hawkins and his Parks Tower Studios banner have entered into a co-production agreement with RTG Features, the sister studio to basketball-focused media company Slam, to develop and produce a slate of cross-platform scripted and unscripted projects that spotlight sports and culture.
Hawkins comes to the deal after working with RTG’s CEO Aron Phillips at Uninterrupted, the L.A.-based athlete empowerment brand co-founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
As part of the deal, RTG will come aboard to produce Hawk, a biopic first announced a few years ago that’s based on the true story of Hawkins’ journey to the NFL. Directing the pic is Qasim Basir, the filmmaker with whom Hawkins most recently collaborated as an EP on his critically acclaimed Sundance 2023 drama, To Live and Die and Live.
The film to be produced by Andre Gaines (The One and Only Dick Gregory) off a script by Krystin Ver Linden (Alice) examines the underdog’s improbable, obstacle-ridden three-year odyssey to join the league, which had the 5-foot-7 wide receiver working at a wind turbine factory and as a caddy at a country club, interning with the Detroit Lions, coming in as runner-up on Michael Irvin’s football reality show, 4th and Long, and playing two seasons for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes – all eventually leading him to a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals and later a multimillion-dollar deal with the Cleveland Browns.
Following his eight seasons of professional football, ending in 2017, Hawkins has gone on to a successful career in media and entertainment as a Sports Emmy Award-nominated on-air talent for ESPN, Amazon Studios, NFL Media, Discovery, Roku and Uninterrupted. He has created and hosted series including last year’s Granted, which showcases the emotional stories surrounding walk-on college student-athletes being awarded full scholarships, and was an executive producer of the Oscar-winning 2020 animated short, Hair Love. Also the co-founder and president of the sports technology and video game studio, StatusPRO, Hawkins launched his production company Parks Tower Studios, focused on the stories of sports and culture’s unsung heroes, in 2021.
“When we started talking about expansion outside of basketball there was only one name on our list,” said Aron Phillips, who was promoted to CEO of RTG Features in January. “Hawk stands in a league of his own as it relates to creative, development and business, and we couldn’t be more excited to help bring his vision for Parks Tower to life.”
Added Hawkins in a statement to Deadline, “At Parks Tower, we are story first and we believe the best stories in sports and culture are told from the points of view fans aren’t used to seeing. There isn’t a storyteller I respect more than Aron, and our shared passion for elevating unique perspectives made this partnership a no-brainer.”
In addition to Hawk, upcoming projects for RTG Features include the animated feature Sneaks, produced by and starring three-time Emmy winner Laurence Fishburne, and an untitled multi-part docuseries on legendary Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson from Peabody Award-winning director Kirk Fraser.
Hawkins and Parks Tower Studios are represented by WME, M88 and attorney Jaia Thomas.