On the Saturday before Super Bowl LIII, Russell Wilson was tucked away in a VIP lounge space in an industrial warehouse, sitting on a velvet sofa and opening up about the Hollywood ambitions he shares with wife Ciara.
“When people look at me, I hope they don’t just see a football player. I hope they see a person who is innovative and creative, someone who builds something from nothing,” he told The Hollywood Reporter on a break from making the rounds inside the Wheels Up tailgate event Feb. 2. “We want to be able to impact lives. That’s what we want to do at the end of the day — even from the kids space. We just want to tell stories that connect with the world and to the emotions.”
Wilson and Ciara have taken a big step towards that goal. The couple has announced the formation of Why Not You Productions, a company that will focus on creating film, television and digital content projects — both scripted and unscripted — that will include, but not be limited to, “inspiring and aspiring narratives and human interest stories,” per the announcement.
“While we work in different fields in our day-to-day, we are excited to come together to collaborate and create stories that we hope will touch people’s lives,” said Wilson and Ciara in a joint statement. “We are both storytellers at heart and we want to be able to share stories that uplift people and inspire others to create positive change. That’s ultimately what we want this company to represent.”
In doing so, Wilson and Ciara will expand upon the work they’ve been doing through their joint foundation, the youth empowerment-focused Why Not You Foundation. They will continue to operate that organization along with their respective side businesses. Ciara runs her own entertainment company and record label, Beauty Marks Entertainment (BME), while Wilson heads West2East Empire (W2E), a brand management, creative content and production company. The duo will no doubt get a boost from their reps, CAA, Untitled Entertainment’s Jason Weinberg and chief global brad officer Jordan Dinenberg of W2E. Wilson is additionally repped by sports agent and attorney Mark Rodgers.
Wilson has already been in the headlines this month. Close to two weeks ago, ESPN reported that Wilson had signed a massive four-year, $140 million extension that includes a $65 million signing bonus to make him the highest-paid player in the NFL. The deal will keep Wilson with the Seahawks through the 2023 season. As for Ciara, she continues to stay in the news and will likely do so even more when she takes the stage this week in Las Vegas at the Billboard Music Awards.
Even with their respective busy schedules, Wilson made it clear in Atlanta that their passion for this production company is a primary focus. “For us, we want to be able to create, create, create,” Wilson said. “For West2East, we always say, ‘A+ only.’ That’s our motto.”
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.