Yeah, we saw this coming…. earlier this week we posted our review of the Sundance documentary, “Battered Bastards Of Baseball,” and within, our own Katie Walsh declared, “you will start fantasy casting the near-inevitable Hollywood remake of this story.” And indeed some studio execs are already doing just that.
Justin Lin has acquired the rights to Chapman and Maclain Way‘s documentary, with the project already starting a war between Columbia Pictures, Fox Searchlight and DreamWorks for the option. What has them all excited? Well, it’s a rough and tumble baseball tale about Bing Russell (father of Kurt Russell) and how he founded the independent Portland Mavericks team, and with savvy recruiting of fading big league players and an emphasis on fun, turned the sport into a mega-hit in a state were it wasn’t thought it could be successful. He essentially beat Major League Baseball at their own game, and while the ride was good, it didn’t last for long. Filmmaker Todd Field (“In The Bedroom“) was a batboy for the team, and in fact, he is in negotiations to write and direct the Hollywood adaptation for Lin.
Basically, this story is dripping with colorful players, a wild, fight-the-system story, and a love of the game. It’s easy to see why execs are excited. In case anyone needs help in casting, Katie Walsh suggested: “Bradley Cooper as manager Frank Peters, Ben Affleck plus a couple of pounds and several dozen loud shirts as Bing, Aaron Eckhart as disgraced former Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton, John Cho, Michael Peña, Michael B. Jordan as the hot shot players.”
Hopefully this gets moving soon, Lin’s got full plate directing his own projects (he recently signed up to helm a remake of Jet Li‘s kung fu flick “The Shaolin Temple“), and has “Bourne 5” to deliver for next year. But, with Field behind the project, let’s hope this great baseball story makes its way to screens soon. [THR]