It seems the baseball movie is back in vogue in Hollywood. While the genre pics are generally well-received stateside, studios and the like have been reluctant to put too much money behind them in recent times, as the sport doesn't play well internationally, where box office dollars are more important than ever. But with Jackie Robinson getting the big-screen treatment courtesy of Brian Helgeland's "42," another giant of the game is stepping up to the plate.
Barry Levinson is set to direct a biopic of Hammerin' Hank Aaron in a forthcoming film. Of course, the ins and outs of the diamond are nothing new to the director, who helmed one of the all-time greatest movies of the genre, "The Natural." If you're just catching up, Hank Aaron was the all-time leader of home runs for years, dramatically breaking Babe Ruth's record on April 8th, 1974. His record has since been outdone by the steroid/HGH aided Barry Bonds in 2007, but Aaron is still seen as one of the best players and batters of all time.
The film will be based on Howard Bryant's book "The Last Hero: The Life Story of Henry Aaron," which chronicles his segregated upbringing in Alabama, his journey through the Negro League, and his rivalry with Willy Mays. It has been adapted by Adam Mazer, who worked with Levinson before on the Emmy-winning "You Don't Know Jack."
Right now the search is on for someone to play the lead role, so no word yet on when it will shoot. Levinson currently has the found footage/lo-fi horror-thing "The Bay" in the can, with a number of projects in development including: the Oklahoma City Bombing movie "O.K.C."; an adaptation of Philip Roth's "The Humbling" with Al Pacino eyeing the lead; a biopic on infamous silent comedian Fatty Arbuckle in "The Day The Laughter Stopped"; and "Gotti: Three Generations" which ran into financial trouble, and seems to have fallen entirely off the radar. [Variety]