Deadline.com’s Mike Fleming reports that Universal Pictures and Illuminaton Entertainment have acquired the rights package to make a film based on the “60 Minutes” segment profiling Vy Higginsen, an accomplished gospel singer who started a program for teens in Harlem with the intention of preserving the art form by introducing it to a young generation.
Her rule: her charges were expected to leave their problems at the door and focus on the music. She discovered that her most gifted kids were unable to separate themselves from their problems at home. Many of them were scarred by indifferent or absent parents, and tragedies that scarred them and made them feel worthless. Once Higginson helped her students reveal and deal with their problems, they soared.
According to Fleming, Illumination’s Ashley Kramer, following Meledandri’s mandate to find music-driven properties, brought in this one. Escape Artists’ Black, who found “The Pursuit of Happyness” after watching a “20/20” segment on the film’s protagonist Chris Gardner, got the same vibe from Gospel For Teens. His partners, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch will be exec producers along with Michael Radutzky. Higginsen will be a co-producer.