Taraji Henson is playing from the white tees.
In “From the Rough,” the Oscar-nominated “Curious Case of Benjamin Button” actor will take on a role inspired by Dr. Catana Starks, the first female head coach of an NCAA Division 1 men’s team. Gyre Entertainment is producing the sports drama, which begins filming in New Orleans in early October.
Henson will play a fictionalized version of Starks named Cassandra Turner, who parlays a successful stint as coach of the women’s swim team at a historically black college into a shot at building the men’s golf team. With available black players scarce, Turner scours Europe, Australia and Asia for hidden talents and constructs a uniquely multi-racial team. (In real life, Starks was the golf coach at Tennessee State University.)
“This extraordinary film explores one’s ability to transform life’s rough circumstances into distinct advantages,” said director-producer Pierre Bagley. “It confronts issues of race, gender, class and cultural barriers in ways that are provocative, and sometimes hilarious.