Casey Affleck to Produce Prison Baseball Drama 'Death Row Chaplain' (Exclusive)

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The New Yorker; Simon and Shuster
Casey Affleck

'Nashville' writer David Gould is on board to pen the adaptation of the memoir by Earl "Chap" Smith.

The Affleck/Middleton Project, the production banner run by Casey Affleck and John Powers Middleton, has picked up the rights to Earl “Chap” Smith’s memoir Death Row Chaplain, setting David Gould to write the adaptation.

The book, whose complete title is Death Row Chaplain: Unbelievable True Stories from America’s Most Notorious Prison, told of how Smith went from criminal to clergyman at San Quentin, one of the most legendary corrections facilities in the country. His finding salvation after being shot six times led him to become the prison’s death-row minister, a position he held for an astonishing 23 years.

Gould and the producers are looking to make a faith-based adaptation focusing on the redemptive powers of baseball behind the prison walls.

In a racially divided and violent environment that was constantly on the boiling point, Smith founded and coached the San Quentin Pirates, a baseball team that seemed to transform the prison yard. But when conflict erupts and threatens to rip the team apart, Smith must manage a very complicated game with life-and-death stakes both on and off the field.

The project is the second for the production shingle, launched by Affleck and Middleton in 2014. The duo also are producing an adaptation of 2009 Robert Olmstead novel Far Bright Star that Affleck plans to direct and that has Joaquin Phoenix attached to star.

Gould, a writer-producer on ABC’s Nashville and who was also a writer-producer on Rizzoli & Isles, is repped by WME.

Affleck, who next stars in Manchester-by-the-Sea and appears in Disney’s Coast Guard thriller The Finest Hours, is with WME.

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