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After hitting it out of the park with Jackie Robinson biopic 42, Legendary Entertainment is stepping up to the plate with another baseball project.
The company has picked up the rights to the book One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard and has set Wes Jones to pen the script.
Mike Tollin, whose credits include the sports movies Varsity Blues, Coach Carter, and Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream, will produce with Legendary, with Peter Guber serving as executive producer. Steven Gilder and Alec Chorches will co-produce.
Titled One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach and a Magical Baseball Season, the tome is set in 1971 and tells of a staid Illinois small town living through a drought and the Vietnam War. Into this environment entered a hippie English teacher who reluctantly took on coaching duties for the high school baseball team. Bucking conventions, the team, sporting long hair and warming up to Jesus Christ Superstar, ended up making the state finals and squared off against an established Chicago team.
The project is described as having shades of the Walter Matthau baseball comedy The Bad News Bears, the Gene Hackman basketball drama Hoosiers and the Denzel Washington football drama Remember the Titans.
42, which starred Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, proved to be a hit, grossing over $93 million domestically on a $40 million budget, and was an auspicious debut as Legendary’s first solo outing. (The company usually partners with Warner Bros. on movie projects but has slowly been developing its own slate.)
Jones is best known for his script College Republicans, which tells the story of Karl Rove when he was an aspiring politician. The script topped the 2010 edition of the Black List, which surveys the best unproduced screenplays.
What helped Jones to get the gig was his massive love for baseball. The enthusiast is not only a New York Mets fan but also runs a fantasy baseball league.
He is repped by CAA, Circle of Confusion and attorney Mike Eisner.
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