Producers Sheila Johnson, Bo Derek and Mark Sennet Announce Pre-Production of the Historical Feature Film “W.A.S.P.”


On The Heels of the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Theatrical Drama Will Capture the True Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II

LOS ANGELES, CA–(Marketwired – December 09, 2016) – Producers Sheila Johnson (“The Butler”), Bo Derek, Mark Sennet (Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones”), and David Greenhill are proud to announce the pre-production of the historical feature film W.A.S.P., which will for the first time tell the amazing stories of the heroic Women Airforce Service Pilots (W.A.S.P.) of World War II.

With a screenplay from the award-winning writer B. Garida, and based on the book Santiago Rhythm and Blues by Lt. Col. Andra Higgs, W.A.S.P. follows aviation pioneers Jacqueline Cochran and Nancy Love as they formed the first group of women pilots who flew for the United States military.

As the United States military swung into action to rescue the damaged ships, planes, and people suffering from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an entire nation’s adaptation to modern warfare was also beginning. Men who left for the battlefield were replaced in their jobs by women — in the garages, at the jobsite, on the assembly line, and most notably, in the air. W.A.S.P. reveals the untold story of the heroic female aviators who, as Army Air Corps instructors and service pilots, moved a nation forward into the skies.

“History is made when stories of greatness are shared. But for too long, history has been just that: HIS story. These women aviators did incredible things for both our country and the world. I can’t wait to share their amazing experience with a new generation,” stated Sheila Johnson, executive producer, CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts and co-founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET).

W.A.S.P. will celebrate the heroics of these amazing women and honor their struggles for recognition in the following years, including obtaining veteran status in 1977, the 2009 awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to the group for exemplary service, and the passage of the 2016 law conferring the pilots’ right to burial with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Thirty-eight of those brave pilots sacrificed their lives in the service of their country between the years 1942 and 1945.

“These patriotic women overcame great obstacles and prejudice in pursuit of a dream to fly for their country,” commented Bo Derek. “I am thrilled to be taking an active part in helping cast a leading female director who will bring this fascinating story to life on the big screen.”

“As a former Time-Life photojournalist, I love uncovering heroic stories. As a producer, I take great pride in sharing the amazing accomplishments of these women,” said Mark Sennet. “The story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots was lost and forgotten for decades, but more than one thousand courageous women flew for the W.A.S.P. logging more than 60 million miles in every single aircraft in the Army Air Corps’ arsenal during World War II,” continued Sennet.

“General `Hap’ Arnold is widely regarded as the father of the United States Air Force. I respectfully submit that Jackie Cochran is therefore the ‘mother of the Air Force.’ Her W.A.S.P. unit was the first to wear the Air Force blue uniform. The distinctive achievements Jackie and her 1,078 W.A.S.P. logged on behalf of our nation is beyond extraordinary,” said Lt. Col. Andra Higgs of the United States Air Force.

Dr. William Hasselberger, Craig Sheftell, and Aleco Bravo Greenberg round out the team who will produce the film.

Mark Sennet is represented by CAA; Bo Derek is represented by attorney Scott Whitehead (McKuin Frankel Whitehead); B. Garida is represented by Innovative Artists and attorney Andrew Hurwitz (Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz).

Artwork and interviews are available upon request. is coming soon.