By Zach Johnson
The shoes fit! Talented up-and-coming actors Chosen Jacobs and Lexi Underwood have been cast alongside four-time NBA Champion John Salley in the new Disney+ original movie Sneakerella. Now in production, the pop/hip-hop musical leaves a sneaker culture imprint on the Cinderella fairy tale. Jane Startz and Rachel Watanabe-Batton are executive producers, and co-executive producer Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum will also direct the film.
Set in the avant-garde street-sneaker subculture of New York City, Sneakerella introduces El (Jacobs), an aspiring sneaker designer from Queens who works as a stock boy in the shoe store that once belonged to his late mother. El hides his artistic talent from his overburdened stepfather and two mean-spirited stepbrothers who constantly stomp on any opportunity that comes his way. But when El meets Kira King (Underwood), the fiercely independent daughter of legendary basketball star and sneaker tycoon Darius King (Salley), sparks fly as the two bond over their mutual affinity for sneakers. With a little nudge from his best friend and a sprinkle of Fairy Godfather magic, El finds the courage to use his talent to pursue his dream of becoming a “legit” sneaker designer in the industry.
“Sneakerella brings a vibrant, modern approach to a beloved story by suggesting that magic is the result of hard work and determination and exists within each of us,” said Lauren Kisilevsky, vice president, Original Movies, Disney Channel. “Liz Allen’s unique vision, Lexi and Chosen’s amazing chemistry, the incredible music and the gravity-defying choreography, will bring this movie to life and inspire audiences of all ages.”
Sneakerella also stars Devyn Nekoda as El’s best friend Sami; Juan Chioran as El’s neighbor Gustavo; Robyn Alomar as Kira’s sister Liv; Bryan Terrell Clark as El’s stepfather Trey; and Kolton Stewart and Hayward Leach as El’s stepbrothers, Zelly and Stacy, respectively. Written by Tamara Chestna and George Gore II & Mindy Stern, Sneakerella features choreography by Emilio Dosal and Ebony Williams, and Christopher Scott is a co-producer.