Retired NBA champ Dennis “The Worm” Rodman was known for his flamboyant and hard-partying, even heading to Las Vegas for a two-day sabbatical during the Chicago Bulls’ 1998 Finals run. That 48-hour bender found renewed popular interest after being highlighted in ESPN’s docuseries The Last Dance, and that episode will now be turned into a semi-autobiographical buddy flick by Lionsgate called 48 Hours in Vegas.
“There’s only one Dennis Rodman,” said Nathan Kahane, president of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, in a statement about the new movie. “In 1998, there was nobody on Earth who’d be more fun – or maybe more dangerous – to party with. And yet, that’s not even half of who he is. This movie takes you on an unforgettable ride with the myth, the legend, and also the man that Dennis is, behind everything you think you know.”
Rodman actually made a similar request during the 1997 Finals, too, but Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson granted it. And when All-Star forward Scottie Pippen was sidelined with injury at the start of the ’97-’98 season, The Worm stepped up. “When Scottie was out,” Michael Jordan retells in Last Dance, “Dennis was a model citizen, to the point that it was driving him fucking insane.” So as soon as Pippen returned to the lineup and the Bulls were in the Finals again, Rodman asked Jackson to go to Sin City once more. This time, however, the 48-hour break took a tad bit longer and included much more debauchery.
“Dennis refused to follow the herd,” said the movie’s producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The duo is also known for writing the 2009 animated film Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and won an Academy Award for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. “That is what made him a target, and it’s also what made him a star. His weekend in Las Vegas is full of fun and high jinks but it is also full of important questions about the way public figures, and workers are treated, especially when their individuality is expressed so vividly.”
Lord and Miller will share production duties with Aditya Sood for Lord Miller Productions. Rodman, Ari Lubet, and Will Allegra are the executive producers on the project. “We could not be more thrilled to be working with Phil, Chris, Aditya, Ari, Will, and [screenplay writer Jordan VanDina],” continued Kahane, “and above all, Dennis, whose amazing career and life will make for an off-the-wall hilarious yet completely human and emotional movie. You think you know anything about ’The Worm’? Just you wait!”