Netflix Turning Heartwarming Viral Thanksgiving Story Into Original Movie

If Hollywood could make a good movie out of a Twitter thread, there's no reason to believe producers couldn't take a viral story that's been ongoing for six years and make a movie about it. Six years after a grandmother in Arizona accidentally invited a stranger to her Thanksgiving dinner and made it an annual tradition, the story will become The Thanksgiving Text, a new movie at Netflix. The tradition continued into this year, with Jamal Hinton confirming on Twitter last week that he once again visited Wanda Dench on Turkey Day.

The story began in 2016, when Dench texted her grandson to ask him if he was coming over for Thanksgiving. She actually texted a wrong number belonging to Hinton, who was in high school at the time. When Hinton asked who the text was from, Dench simply replied, "Your grandma," and sent him a selfie. Hinton said he was not her grandson, but asked if he could come anyway. She surprisingly agreed. "That's what grandma's do... Feed everyone," she replied. Hinton has been stopping by Dench's home on Thanksgiving ever since. Last year's dinner was emotional for everyone, as Dench's husband of 42 years, Lonnie Dench, died from COVID-19 complications in April 2020.

Dench and Hinton are both supporting Netflix's film. "We are excited to share our story with the world. We hope it inspires more people to reach out and make connections that they wouldn't ordinarily make," the two said in a statement to Variety. "We are so blessed to find a genuine friendship brought together by God from a mistaken text message."

On Nov. 25, Hinton confirmed the tradition was still going strong. He shared new photos from outside Dench's house, including a heartbreaking picture showing Dench holding up a photo of her husband with Hinton and his girlfriend. "Looking forward to getting together with family and friends for Thanksgiving. Jamal said he'll bring the pumpkin pie," Dench tweeted on her own page.

Abdul Williams, who wrote The Bobby Brown Story for BET, will write the script. No director or cast have been set. Robert Teitel and George Tillman, Jr. will produce for State Street Pictures, the studio behind The Hate U Give, Men of Honor, and The Barbershop Franchise. Lawrence Mott is an executive producer. No release date has been set.


This isn't the first time Hollywood has taken a story from social media and run with it. Earlier this year, A24 released Zola, which was based on a series of tweets by Aziah "Zola" King. She tweeted about a bizarre trip she took with a fellow stripper, the stripper's boyfriend and the stripper's pimp to make extra money in Florida.