Academy Award winner Troy Kotsur is going to be starring in a brand new show focusing on the football team from the California School for the Deaf in Riverside, California.
On Thursday, Deadline reported that ABC Signature has obtained the TV rights to tell their incredible, inspirational story.
Troy Kotsur To Star In Inspirational Series About The California School for the Deaf’s Football Team
According to Deadline, ABC Signature is working with Disney Branded Television to create the series for Disney+. The project currently does not have a title.
Troy Kotsur, who is coming fresh off his Oscar win for “CODA,” will play the team’s coach. He will also executive produce the project with his “CODA” costar, Oscar winner Marlee Matlin.
Ron Shelton will executive produce the project as well. He will also direct and write the pilot along with Ben Shelton, who will write and executive produce the fledgling series as well. Kevin Falls, known for “The West Wing,” will also serve as an executive producer and showrunner.
Deadline reported that additional executive producers include Bert Salke, Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff, Rainn Wilson, Jack Jason, Bill Horberg, and Christina Lurie. John Maucere, an alumnus of California School for the Deaf, will also consult and co-produce the new series.
What Is The Story Behind The California School for the Deaf’s Football Team?
The studio has partnered with the California School for the Deaf and the California Department of Education in order to tell the inspirational story of the team’s undefeated season. Their record-breaking win streak earned the team a spot in the California State Championship for the first time in the school’s long history.
Although the team was never known for its long win streaks, they went all the way to the state title game during their season, playing against mostly hearing teams. Their inspirational story made headlines and later led to their captains being on the field during the coin flip at the Super Bowl LVI in February 2022.
Many are excited to see Troy Kotsur return to the screen to bring this project to life. With him and Marlee Matlin – the only two Deaf performers to win an Academy Award – behind the project, fans are sure that this series will be worth a watch.
Marlee Matlin Discusses The Importance Of Diversity In Hollywood
Back in April, both Oscar winners spoke at The Hollywood Reporter‘s inaugural “Raising Our Voices: Setting Hollywood’s Inclusion Agenda” luncheon, which was sponsored by Walmart.
Before introducing Matlin, Kotsur joked, “Before I was a famous award-winning actor, I used to buy clothing at Walmart, so I’d like to thank our sponsor Walmart — you provided me with so many pairs of socks and underwear over the years, I really appreciate it.”
Kotsur then addressed Matlin and her historic first 1987 Academy Award win, saying, “Marlee seemed like the only deaf actress in the world. Sometimes she was the token deaf actress. Marlee dealt with discrimination, barriers, and closed-mindedness with such patience, elegance, and grace. Marlee never gave up.”
He then thanked Matlin for keeping “my hope and the hope of the Deaf community alive.”
Reflecting on the historic win, Matlin said, “How wonderful it was that our film really busted out the myth that no one wanted to see a family-friendly film, without special effects, or a coming-of-age story of a young girl and her working-class deaf family. With open captions! Thank you [director] Sian [Heder] for that.”
“And that we were on the stage, the cast, the director, the producers, and our interpreters for everyone to see, showing that we could do it,” she continued. “That inclusion and authenticity and accessibility can be entertaining and creatively and commercially successful.”
“It’s hard to imagine any executives these days that will have the ability to finance a film or studio who can greenlight a project after what we succeeded, saying, ‘Well, how do we do it?’ calling on those who rattle off excuses to not hire authentically deaf or disabled talent because of the supposed difficulty to ‘figure it out,'” she continued, adding that it wouldn’t take over three decades to see another Deaf actor win an Academy Award.
Matlin concluded, “As I looked to an earlier generation like Linda Bove and Bernard Bragg who inspired me, and as Troy and Daniel have said that I inspired them, we hope that you can look to us as one of the thousands of artists who are deaf or disabled to inspire you to ensure that the future of diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and authenticity in Hollywood is a success.”