The actress is producing and starring in a biopic on track and field legend Florence Griffith Joyner.
The Summer Olympics in Tokyo are less than 50 days away. But for Tiffany Haddish, the training for her most demanding, high-profile role to date is only getting started.
The outspoken comedian and actress announced last week that she is set to produce and star in a biopic about three-time Olympic gold medalist Florence Griffith Joyner.
For Haddish, who catapulted to stardom following 2017’s hit comedy Girls Trip, the film presents the opportunity to portray one of her personal “she-ros.” In an official statement, the actor said, “I am looking forward to telling Flo-Jo’s story the way it should be told.”
But telling that story will be no simple feat.
After a historic stretch of wins in the late 1980s, the fastest woman of all time came to face questions about alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. The accusations crescendoed in 1988 when she returned to set records at the Summer Olympics in Seoul after a brief hiatus from the track.
Throughout her career, she never once tested positive for a banned substance.
In 1998, three years after being inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame, Florence Griffith Joyner died tragically from complications from an epileptic seizure at the age of 38.
Haddish is collaborating with sports-oriented content studio game1 for the film. In a press release, game1 announced plans to create a corresponding documentary series and podcast in tandem with the silver screen release. The multi-platform effort will allow Flo-Jo fans to get an in-depth look into the sprinter’s life from multiple perspectives.
And with a performer at the helm best known for a comic persona that pulls zero punches, we can expect that the production team will not shy away from taking on the difficult questions that continue to be linked to the Olympic gold medalist’s legacy — and balancing all this with answering criticism from the peanut gallery about the film’s casting.
Flo-Jo dazzled track and field’s biggest stages with her signature style and blazing speed. At every race, she lived her personal motto: “Dress good to look good. Look good to feel good. And feel good to run fast.” And in 1988, Joyner became the world’s fastest woman in both the 100 meters and 200 meters at the US Olympic Trials and again at the Summer Olympic Games.
Her records of 10.49 seconds in the 100 and 21.34 seconds in the 200 still stand almost 35 years later.
But notably, her path to the podium was far less linear than her historic sprints to the finish line.
Flo-Jo attended California State University, Northridge, where she helped the team to a national championship in her first year. However, financial constraints forced her to drop out to support her family. She was working as a bank teller when her former coach, Bob Kersee, secured a scholarship for the speedy star and persuaded her to join him at UCLA.