GREEN BAY, Wis. — Three years ago, Desmond Bishop had an idea for a movie. Still early in his NFL career, the Green Bay Packers’ linebacker had no training or writing experience, but Bishop knew this was a story he wanted to tell.
That story idea has now become a legitimate movie script that his co-writer has given to some people at Lionsgate — the studio that produced “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” and “The Hunger Games.” Bishop’s agent, Blake Baratz, also introduced him to the producers of the 2006 Academy Award-winning film “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Bishop recently had a group of actors participate in a table read of his script recently.
“It was kind of unbelievable,” Bishop told FOXSportsWisconsin.com this week. “To see something kind of start off as an idea one night that I started writing, then manifesting into 120 pages of a story with a beginning, middle and end, with actors actually reading it to get the flow, it was really rewarding.
“Almost everybody (at the table read) knew us, so there could be some bias, but everybody loved it. They really liked it.”
While the script was still in its infancy, Bishop ran into a bad case of writer’s block. That’s when he began studying and reading books on how to write and structure a story. Before he continued on again, Bishop was introduced to an actual Hollywood scriptwriter through friend and former Packers teammate Charlie Peprah.
“We linked up and started writing together,” Bishop said. “We bounced ideas off each other, and it worked out great. Some of the same elements of the story stayed the same, but it sort of took a different direction.”
The tentative title for the movie is “Turnover,” and, as Bishop described it, is one that crosses over a few genre lines.
“It’s kind of a love story, but it has some elements of revenge and betrayal,” Bishop said. “Basically, it’s about a kid who is a great basketball player that is forced into some tragic situations, and his way of coping is he starts doing negative things, hanging out with the wrong people and lands in prison.
“In prison, he lands with a corrupt warden who has an agenda. The warden runs underground basketball games in the prison system that is very lucrative. A lot of lawyers, doctors and politicians are in on it and make money on it.
“Without giving too much away, there’s a twist in there of how he really got in prison and how the warden’s agenda really reached to get this guy and make him play basketball.”
When Bishop was writing the main character, he pictured singer-actor Chris Brown playing the leading role.
“The character has to be a good basketball player, and Brown can act somewhat,” Bishop said. “He’s kind of the perfect guy who can do it.”
Though the script has been completed, Bishop isn’t quite satisfied yet. After watching the actors go through the table read, he saw some room for improvement.
“Maybe one or two more revisions to trim the fat and get it perfect,” Bishop said. “Then, from there, I think it’s definitely ready. But I want to keep getting it better. We want to make it the best it can be for the viewer.
“Hopefully I’ll see it on the big screen someday or get it sold. We’ll see.”
Bishop, a California native, is realistic about the chances of that happening. But, he also wants to protect it and make sure his first movie script isn’t mishandled.
“I don’t really know the ins and outs, but it’s a pretty tricky business,” Bishop said. “We’re trying to find people to finance it and do it ourselves rather than selling it to somebody who might shelve it and create a movie just like it. There’s different avenues we can take.
“Right now, I think we’d want to do it ourselves independently, but we’ll see.”
Bishop, who credits author James Patterson as his biggest writing influence, isn’t done after completing his first script. He is already generating ideas for the story he plans to write next.
Bishop, 28, should be able to play several more years in the NFL, even after a torn hamstring kept him out the entire 2012 season. But, in the near future, if a movie trailer begins playing and the plot sounds strangely familiar, check the credits. It may have been written by Bishop.