20th Century Fox has given the green light to a comedy inspired by flamboyant forward Dennis Rodman's "basketball diplomacy" visit to North Korea last year. Titled Diplomats, the movie will be directed by Tim Story, who previously helmed Ride Along, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Barbershop. According to The Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter Jonathan Abrams has based the movie on the many antics Rodman carried out while in the country.
The former NBA player visited North Korea last year and befriended the country's supreme leader Kim Jong-un, who is reportedly a massive Chicago Bulls fan. After the trip, he said of the brutal dictator, "He has to do his job, but he's a very good guy."
Earlier this year, on another trip to the country, Rodman led a sing-along of "Happy Birthday" for Jong-un at a basketball game. When he returned to the U.S., he told CNN, "I'm sorry for what's going on in North Korea, the certain situations." He was not specific about which "certain situations" bothered him, though, considering the number of human rights abuses for which North Korea makes headlines, such as its hundreds of thousands of political prisoners.
"I'm not God, I'm not [an] ambassador, I'm no one," he said. "I just want to show the world the fact that we can actually get along in sport. That is it."
Rodman has maintained that he loves America and that he doesn't feel he has done anything wrong with his visits. "Everyone is trying to break this down, to push it on me," he has said. Rodman has said he was not paid for his visits to the country, but another ballplayer, Kenny Anderson, who made his own North Korea visit, said he received "a few thousand dollars" for the trip.
Fox has not yet disclosed the movie's plot or how Diplomats will be a comedy., though one of the producers of the Sandra Bullock–Melissa McCarthy movie The Heat has signed on to produce the film.