In a heated competition, Brett Ratner and his RatPac Entertainment have acquired the rights to Jesse Katz’ article Escape From Cuba: Yasiel Puig’s Untold Journey to the Dodgers.
Ratner will produce the big-screen take with Beau Flynn via his FlynnPictureCo. banner.
The article, which appeared earlier this month in Los Angeles magazine, chronicles Dodgers superstar Puig’s repeated attempts to escape his home country of Cuba. He finally succeeded when a wealthy but shady sponsor arranged for smugglers working for one of Mexico’s murderous drug cartels to pick Puig up in a speed boat and take him to the Yucatan Peninsula. But when his backer allegedly did not immediately pay the agree-upon fee, the smugglers held Puig captive for almost three weeks. His journey ended successfully — he now has a seven-year, $42 million contract with the National League team – but the piece also highlighted the dangers for other Cubans trying to find a better life in the U.S.
RatPac’s James Packer and John Cheng will executive produce.
Scott Sheldon, who just joined FPC as a creative executive, will oversee development with RatPac’s Agustine Calderon. A search for writers is underway.
The Puig project reunites Ratner and Flynn after their partnership on Hercules, the action tentpole starring Dwayne Johnson opening July 25. Ratner directed the movie and produced it with Flynn. Ratner is also a producer on Horrible Bosses 2, which just wrapped production.
RatPac has an arrangement to co-finance productions from Plan B, the shingle run by Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner, with New Regency. They are producing and co-financing such projects as The Revenant, which will star Leonardo DiCaprio, and The Operators, which has Pitt attached to portray retired U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
Flynn is currently in production on San Andreas, a disaster movie from New Line that also stars Johnson.
WME repped Katz in the deal.
Executives of Guggenheim Partners, the majority owner of The Hollywood Reporter, are owners of The Los Angeles Dodgers via Guggenheim Baseball Management.