After multiple buyers circled the Sundance documentary The Battered Bastards of Baseball, Justin Lin has acquired narrative remake rights of the film and will self-finance via his Perfect Storm banner. Lin, who will produce, beat out several pursuers for remake rights, including Columbia Pictures, Fox Searchlight and DreamWorks.
The film, directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, is ripe for a big-screen redo given the feel-good nature of the story that hearkens long-forgotten baseball stories like A League of Their Own.
The film chronicles the story of the late Bing Russell (a Hollywood veteran best known for playing Deputy Clem on Bonanza), who in 1973 created the only independent baseball team in America at the time, the Portland Mavericks. Bing operated without Major League affiliation while playing in a city that was considered a wasteland for professional baseball. Tryouts for the Mavericks, which were open to the public, were filled with hopefuls who arrived in droves from every state in America, many of whom had been rejected by organized baseball.
Skeptics agreed it would never work. But Bing’s Mavericks generated unprecedented success: They shattered attendance records, signed actor Kurt Russell — Bing’s son — as a player and team vp, produced one of the most successful batboys in baseball (filmmaker Todd Field), relaunched the controversial career of pitcher Jim Bouton, hired the first female GM in baseball and inspired one of America’s beloved bubble gums (Big League Chew).
Oscar-nominated director Field (In the Bedroom) is in negotiations to write and direct the Battered Bastards of Baseball adaptation. Kurt Russell also is in talks to participate creatively.
“I am thrilled for my nephews and very excited about working with Justin Lin and Todd Field,” Russell said. “It is most satisfying that through this doc, and through the future film endeavors that people will get to know the story of my father and the Mavericks.”
The film, which played in the Documentary Premieres section, made its debut Jan. 20 at the MARC to standing ovations.
Juliana Lembi produced, and Nancy Schafer executive produced.
Submarine’s Josh Braun, David Koh, Dan Braun and Gina Kwon repped the filmmakers. Troy Craig Poon, Ryan Andolina and Lin negotiated on behalf of Lin’s Perfect Storm. CAA reps Lin, Field and Russell.