Over three films, Derek Cianfrance has made films about dudes. Okay, that’s perhaps being a bit reductive, but from “Brother Tied” to “Blue Valentine” to this year’s “The Place Beyond The Pines,” they’ve featured men in various states of crisis. Now he’s going to apply that approach to the most bro-tacular of industries—sports—for a project that has a tremendous amount of promise.
The Wrap reports that Cianfrance is now set to direct an adaptation of the best-selling tome, “ESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun.” Assembled by authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, the book was a sensation when it was released a couple of years ago, rounding up pretty much every key figure involved in the sports network, totalling over 500 interviews, to tell the rather colorful true story of how it started and became a behemoth. Here’s the Amazon synopsis:
It began, in 1979, as a mad idea of starting a cable channel to televise local sporting events throughout the state of Connecticut. Today, ESPN is arguably the most successful network in modern television history, spanning eight channels in the Unites States and around the world. But the inside story of its rise has never been fully told-until now.
Drawing upon over 500 interviews with the greatest names in ESPN’s history and an All-Star collection of some of the world’s finest athletes, bestselling authors James Miller and Tom Shales take us behind the cameras. Now, in their own words, the men and women who made ESPN great reveal the secrets behind its success-as well as the many scandals, rivalries, off-screen battles and triumphs that have accompanied that ascent. From the unknown producers and business visionaries to the most famous faces on television, it’s all here.
Promisingly, the project is set up at Focus Features (home of ‘Pines’) with Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti of “The Social Network” fame slated to produce, though no word yet on who will pen the script. So it might be a little while off for now, but Cianfrance is a pretty inspired choice to direct. And while actual sports might not make up the bulk of the narrative, when it does come into play, he’s already shown an affinity for capturing the drama. We have just one question: who should play Keith Olbermann? The fiery personality is a key part of the rise of ESPN and getting him right will be crucial to this being a success (this GQ excerpt from the book is a must read).
So add this to pile of projects that Cianfrance is currently amassing, which includes “The Light Between Oceans” for DreamWorks and “Muscle” for HBO. Whatever he does next, we’ll definitely be there.