Dennis Rodman’s North Korea exploits inspire comedy film

Dennis Rodman, shown in North Korea in January as part of his "basketball diplomacy," has reportedly inspired a film for 20th Century Fox.
(Kim Kwang Hyon / Associated Press)

Many people haven’t known what to make of former NBA player Dennis Rodman’s bizarre diplomatic efforts in North Korea, but 20th Century Fox may have found an answer: a big-screen comedy.

The studio has bought the pitch for “Diplomats,” a movie inspired by Rodman’s “basketball diplomacy” efforts in the rogue nation, to be helmed by “Ride Along” director Tim Story, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The film is described as “a two-hander that takes its cues from the antics of the 6-foot-7 former NBA player.”


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A colorful character on and off the court, Rodman, 52, a.k.a. the Worm, was as well known for outre publicity stunts as he was for relentless rebounding and defense as a member of the championship Chicago Bulls. He wore a wedding dress to promote his 1996 autobiography “Bad As I Wanna Be.”

He ignited a firestorm of controversy last year when he made a series of highly publicized visits to North Korea, a country with an atrocious human rights record, and befriended its leader, Kim Jong Un.

In January, Rodman returned to the isolated Communist nation to help Kim celebrate his 31st birthday, singing “Happy Birthday” to the dictator and organizing a basketball game pitting ex-NBA players against a local team.

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Although the apparent absurdity of Rodman’s mission would seem to provide ample comic fodder for a film, his actions have drawn sharp criticism from human rights advocates and members of Congress, who are concerned that Rodman’s gestures of goodwill could send the wrong message to a ruthless regime.

The NBA and its retired players’ affiliate have also said they do not support Rodman’s efforts.

Rodman has maintained that he is trying to help mend U.S.-North Korea relations. “It’s about trying to connect two countries together in the world, to let people know that: Do you know what? Not every country in the world is that bad, especially North Korea,” he told the Associated Press in January.


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