'Imitation Game' Producer Nabs Roger Clemens Project, 'The Rocket' (Exclusive)

Roger Clemens - H 2015
AP Images

Roger Clemens - H 2015

Newcomers Jeffrey Gelber and Ryan Belenzon wrote the script, which chronicles the relationship between the baseball great and his trainer.

After tackling the true story of Alan Turing, The Imitation Game producer Teddy Schwarzman is now taking on another true-life figure tarnished during his day.

Schwarzman's Black Bear Pictures has won a heated auction to pick up The Rocket, a drama that tells the story of fallen baseball hero Roger Clemens.

Jeffrey Gelber and Ryan Belenzon wrote the script, which delves into the latter half of the career of Clemens, one of the greatest pitchers of all time, who was nicknamed "The Rocket" for his unhittable fastball. But Clemens, an All-American at the University of Texas who started his professional career with the Boston Red Sox, also became something of a tarnished figure in the sport after his former trainer, Brian McNamee, claimed that the pitcher used steroids. The story chronicles the relationship between the two at the point in Clemens' career when he began to lose his fastball.

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Clemens was called before Congress and denied McNamee's allegations under oath. A federal grand jury indicted Clemens on six felony counts involving perjury, false statements and obstruction of Congress, to which Clemens pleaded not guilty. He was eventually found not guilty on all six counts in 2008, one year after he retired from baseball after 24 seasons. Despite his unparalleled career, he has not been elected to the Hall of Fame.

Among those chasing The Rocket was Warner Bros., which had sought it for Bradley Cooper to produce and potentially star. But Black Bear's aggressive offer was key in the sale.

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Schwarzman, who acquires selectively and generally makes what he picks up, is in pre-production on Gold, a drama to star Matthew McConaughey, and is coming off the Sundance debut of Eli Roth's Knock Knock. Imitation Game is closing in on a $200 million worldwide gross and won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

Gelber and Belenzon are relative newcomers. They've set up a few scripts around town including Endangered at Lionsgate, with Alli Shearmur (Cinderella) producing. But Rocket became a hot commodity, piquing the interest of the red-hot Cooper.

Gelber and Belenzon are handled by CAA and Grandview.