Hank Aaron Biopic in the Works from 'The Natural' Director
Producers Mike Tollin and Glenn Rigberg are teaming up to tell the story of baseball great Hank Aaron and his quest to break Babe Ruth’s home run record, and director Barry Levinson and writer Adam Mazer are now attached to the project.
Tollin and Rigberg acquired the rights to the book The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant and recruited Levinson and Mazer, who worked together on HBO’s Emmy-winning Jack Kevorkian biopic You Don’t Know Jack. Levinson, who directed the 1984 baseball movie The Natural, helped Mazer develop the take for the story.
Aaron will act as a consultant on the project.
The project will focus on the period of 1972 to 1974, when Aaron chased then shattered a sacrosanct record held for decades by Ruth, who hit 714 home runs during his career. Aaron and his supporters faced death threats and hate mail because some fans didn’t want a black man to break Ruth’s record.
"This was a difficult time in my life, but I'm confident we can all learn a little something from looking back at those times,” said Aaron, who ended his career with 755 homers.
Said Mazer: "My first sports memory as a kid was watching Henry Aaron hit No. 715. At the time, I had no idea how profound a moment it was for baseball, and more importantly, the nation. To have the opportunity now to bring his harrowing journey to the screen is an honor and a thrill."
Tollin has a long history of making sports-themed movies including Varsity Blues (1999), Hardball (2001) and Coach Carter (2005). He was nominated for an Oscar and won a Peabody for writing, producing and directing the 1995 documentary Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. He is also a board member of the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream foundation, which has donated millions of dollars to underprivileged inner-city youth.
Rigberg was nominated for an Emmy for his producer role on You Don’t Know Jack and was key to bringing Tollin, Mazer and Levinson together.
Mazer is repped by ICM and Inphenate; Levinson is repped by UTA and 3Arts.