Netflix has optioned the rights to The New York Times bestseller “Shoe Dog,” written by Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Five-time Academy Award nominated producer Frank Marshall will produce the film alongside Knight. Golden Globe and Emmy Award winners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Dolemite Is My Name!, Ed Wood, The People vs. Larry Flynt, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) are writing the screenplay.
Phil Knight said in a statement: “I look forward to working with my friend, the great Frank Marshall, in bringing my story and the story of Nike to the screen. I have been gratified by the reception my book has received, and think that we can explain my journey and the story of Nike to an even larger audience in collaboration with Netflix.”
Knight, 80, a director since 1968, is chairman emeritus of the board of directors of Nike, and attends meetings of the Board as a non-voting observer. Knight is a co-founder of the company and, except for the period from June 1983 through September 1984, served as its president from 1968 to 1990, and from June 2000 to December 2004.
Scott Stuber, head of Netflix’s film group, said, “We couldn’t be more excited to be making “Shoe Dog” with Phil Knight, one of the world’s business icons and a great storyteller. Phil created a brand and a company that became much more than the swoosh. Through innovation, passion and trial and error, Phil created something that became a part of our culture. We can’t wait to share that with the world. This project is also giving us the ability to extend our relationship with world class writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. They are fantastic collaborators and we are lucky to have them working with us, Frank and Phil and this project.”
Marshall and Knight have a relationship dating back to the 1980s, when they met during the production of Back To The Future.
Marshall said, “Ever since our collaboration on BTTF and being a runner myself, I’ve always been fascinated by Phil’s story and how the company came to be. It’s an amazing tale about what the path to success really looks like, with its mistakes, struggles, sacrifice and even luck. It’s about how a company can grow with the right people, dedication, a belief in the power of sport and a shared mission to build a brand that would change everything.”
Shoe Dog was published in April 2016 and remains on the NYT Best Seller list (June 2018 it was the #1 Monthly Best Seller for Sports and Fitness, #4 for Paperback Nonfiction on Print Paperback Best Seller list, #5 for Business Best Seller list). The book has been published in more than 40 languages worldwide.
About Shoe Dog
Netflix’s statement read, “In this instant and tenacious New York Times bestseller, Nike co- founder and board chairman emeritus Phil Knight ‘offers a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh'” (Booklist, starred review), illuminating his company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing and profitable brands.
“Bill Gates named Shoe Dog one of his five favorite books of 2016 and called it “an amazing tale, a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like. It’s a messy, perilous and chaotic journey, riddled with mistakes, endless struggles and sacrifice. Phil Knight opens up in ways few CEOs are willing to do.”
Fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his car in 1963, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $36 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world.
“But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. In Shoe Dog, he tells his story at last. At 24, Knight decides that rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, new, dynamic, different. He details the many risks he encountered, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs. Above all, he recalls the relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers.
“Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the transformative power of sports, they created a brand—and a culture—that changed everything.”
About Frank Marshall
Marshall ‘s career is marked with timeless classics including the Indiana Jones series, “Back to the Future,” “Seabiscuit,” “The Color Purple” and the Jason Bourne series. Marshall’s work has earned him five Academy Award nominations for titles as diverse as “The Sixth Sense” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” His recent productions include “Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom” and completing Orson Welles’s final film, “The Other Side of the Wind,” for Netflix.
About Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski
Alexander and Karaszewski have been writing partners for over 30 years. They are best known for creating the Anti Biopic–a celebration of outcasts, eccentrics and iconoclasts. They wrote “Ed Wood,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “Man On The Moon, Big Eyes” and the upcoming “Dolemite Is My Name!” They produced “Auto Focus.” Among their other films are the hits “1408,” “Problem Child” and “Goosebumps.” For their first television project, they created “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” which won the Emmy, Golden Globe, WGA, PGA, Critics Choice and BAFTA awards for best Limited Series.
Robert B. Barnett and Michael O’Connor of Williams & Connolly and Steve Burkow of Ziffren Brittenham LLP negotiated on behalf of Knight.
Photo courtesy Nike