Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving will star in a movie that will turn his Pepsi commercial character, Uncle Drew, into a full-length feature film, a company official confirmed Thursday.
"Pepsi and Kyrie Irving are looking forward to expanding the Uncle Drew universe," Lou Arbetter, who is general manager of Creators League Studio, Pepsi's new in-house production company, said in a statement.
News of the film being in the works was first reported last week by Variety, which quoted writer Jay Longino saying that the goal is to work a bevy of NBA stars into the movie.
The film release date at this time is unknown. It's also not clear how much Pepsi product will be featured in the film, as the idea of a commercial turned into a mainstream movie is unprecedented.
"I'm really proud of what we've been able to build with Pepsi," Irving, who has been intimately involved in all the Uncle Drew scripts, told ESPN.com. "And even more excited for what's ahead."
Pepsi originally signed Irving to a local marketing deal after being picked first overall by the Cavaliers in the 2011 draft, but Uncle Drew -- an older man played by Irving who disguises his basketball skills and stars in local pickup games -- turned into a national phenomenon that garnered millions of YouTube views. Based on the success of the franchise, which later starred Drew's friends as older people who could ball including Kevin Love, Ray Allen, Nate Robinson and Maya Moore, Pepsi re-signed Irving in 2014 to do more work with the character.
The future also includes an Uncle Drew website as well as limited edition merchandise, which will be unveiled at a pop-up shop in New Orleans this weekend, the site of the NBA All-Star Game. Gear will also be sold on UncleDrew.com, where a new spot called All-Star Game, starring Irving as Uncle Drew and J.B. Smoove and Baron Davis as his older friends, will debut.
Pepsi previously worked with Nike to seed a special edition Uncle Drew locker to influencers, which came with a Uncle Drew logo warm-up and a pair of shoes. An Irving bobblehead night for the Cavaliers featured a small amount of Uncle Drew versions, which went for a small fortune on eBay.
Irving's representation first sought to trademark "Uncle Drew" in 2012, but Pepsi wanted to own the character as well. The two sides, sources said, amicably agreed that neither would own the name. But as Pepsi started to think of Uncle Drew as something bigger, Irving's team gave Pepsi the go-ahead to own the character. The soda and snack maker received its first trademark to last August. An additional trademark for the character on apparel completed the trademark process last week and is expected to be finalized later this year.
Irving isn't the only NBA player slated to star in a motion picture. His teammate LeBron James is scheduled to reprise Michael Jordan's role in a "Space Jam" sequel. The release date for that film is also unknown. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/18696930/pepsi-produce-movie-kyrie-ir...