Transformers: Age Of Extinction actor Jack Reynor is in talks to portray baseball star Josh Hamilton in Casey Affleck's new biopic. Affleck will direct his own screenplay, adapted from Hamilton's memoir Beyond Belief: Finding The Strength To Come Back, and Reynor has emerged as the favourite to play the slugger, whose sports career was sidelined and almost ruined by his addiction to crack cocaine.
Hamilton cleaned up his act and became a superstar with the Texas Rangers in 2008. In 2010 he was named the MVP of baseball's American League.
Mary J. Blige got baseball's World Series underway by performing America's National Anthem at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts on Wednesday evening (23Oct13). Blige was an odd choice for the honour as she's a die-hard fan of the Boston Red Sox's rivals the New York Yankees. James Taylor will sing the Star-Spangled Banner before Thursday night's (24Oct13) game between the Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.
He says, "It's hard to believe for a Red Sox fan that we're actually going back to the World Series... I guess the message is that Sox fans can never give up hope despite the roller coaster we're usually on."
Two days before Major League Baseball's opening day (we know, baseball purists: A couple of games were already played last week in Japan), exciting news has surfaced: Henry 'Hank' Aaron is getting a biopic!
Veteran filmmaker Barry Levinson — Oscar winner for 1998's Rain Man and no stranger to sports cinema, having directed an entry in ESPN's acclaimed 30 for 30 series as well as the 1984 baseball classic The Natural — will helm the film, which will be written by Adam Mazer (Breach) and based on the Howard Bryant book The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron.
The focus will be on Aaron's chase of Babe Ruth's all-time home run record between the years of 1972 and 1974, a tumultuous period for the Hall of Famer that, to say the least, was not full of well-wishers. Aaron eventually broke Ruth's record on April 8, 1974, but Aaron's record itself would fall in 2007 at the hands of Barry Bonds (and even more controversy).
"This was a difficult time in my life," Aaron said, "but I'm confident we can all learn a little something from looking back at those times."
Writer Mazer had this to say about the project, which is hoped to be released in 2014: "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."
Of course, the question immediately becomes: Who should play Hammerin' Hank? The first actor who comes to mind — at least for yours truly — is Andre Braugher, an undeniable look-alike but one who, at nearly 50 years old, would presumably have some trouble playing Aaron or replicating his trademark smooth swing. Although ... it's worth noting that when Aaron broke the aforementioned record, he was 42, so it's not out of the realm of possibility, with help from some movie magic. If producers want to go (a little) younger, perhaps Don Cheadle?
Anatomy of a Baseball Movie
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Moneyball is a movie about baseball...but it's not a sports movie.
Grouping the latest film from star Brad Pitt with heartwarming Americana it-all-comes-down-to-the-big-game films doesn't quite make sense—no matter how much Pitt looks like Kevin Costner or Robert Redford. Moneyball is an underdog tale of a different kind one that questions the enchantment of the game rather than embraces it. While a film driven by sports statistics and business may sound drab Moneyball manages to discover its own unique sentimentality thanks to strong performances and a restrained style.
We pick up with Billy Beane (Pitt) GM for the Oakland A's after yet another disastrous season. Surrounded by aging scouts convinced of their ability to hone in on a player's intangible skills the keen manager grapples with the loss of his best players a recruiting budget dwarfed by his competitors and no solution in sight. After all baseball is a game of the coin—buy the talent buy the wins buy the championship. Wheeling and dealing across the country Beane realizes the A's need a new strategy or they'll be forever at the bottom. He finds that innovation in Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) a statistics wiz who introduces Beane to the baseball equivalent of counting cards: the theory of sabermetrics.
Thankfully watching and enjoying Moneyball doesn't require an extensive background in math as Beane allows the stuffy subdued Brand do the number-crunching. Much like writer Aaron Sorkin's Oscar-winning The Social Network the script (co-written with Schindler's List and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo writer Steve Zallian) pulls back the curtain on a complicated process but makes it easily digestible and more importantly emotional. Beane puts his job and reputation on the line for Brand's theory which boils down to the idea that all you need to win a baseball game is runs. Who needs star players when MLB rejects can make it to home base?
Pitt's depiction of the real life Beane isn't a showy star performance—but it's one of his best to date. The character is reserved and hushed; he explodes when the gravity of his situation hits a boiling point but quickly pulls himself back into professional mode. In order for Beane to enact Brand's plan he has to de-romanticize a game that means everything to him. Beane goes to great lengths to remind himself that baseball can't be fun—he doesn't watch the games he commands his team to hear the sorrow-filled silence of a loss and he emphasizes that no matter how many games he wins the only one that matters is the last. Beane keeps this light and cool with his co-workers but underneath—where Pitt shines—he struggles.
While Moneyball is Pitt's show his ensemble of co-stars deliver equally impressive work. Hill plays against type keeping his usual fast-talking humor in his back pocket and letting the larger-than-life Pitt properly wow him. Philip Seymour Hoffman appears briefly as the A's manager Art Howe who butts heads with Beane over the direction of the team. What could have been a surface-level villainous role is elevated by Hoffman who makes the old school way of thinking sound perfectly reasonable.
The film directed by the Oscar-nominated Bennett Miller (Capote) is slow and methodical paving the way for exhilarating moments between Pitt and Hill as they juggle phone calls fire off statistics educate their players and compile the misfit team. Miller intertwines flashbacks of Beane's early career and real life footage into the main narrative capitalizing on a variety of filmmaking techniques that organically stem from Beane's perspectives. This isn't squeaky clean Hollywood filmmaking but it's slick. Mychael Danna's score stands out as a thrilling companion to the visuals ethereal tunes that add a touch of humanity to a bookish drama.
Moneyball isn't this year's Field of Dreams or The Natural or Little Big League but it is great drama. Compelling and sweet the film takes a relatively unknown aspect of a well-known sport and turns it into something grand. Baseball's always made for a great life metaphor but Moneyball shows us one we've never seen before.
Liz Watson filed for a legal separation in June (09), citing "irreconcilable differences" for the split after 11 years of marriage.
Bonds' estranged spouse requested joint legal and physical custody of their 10-year-old daughter, but she's now had a change of heart and has filed a motion to put a stop to the divorce, reports TMZ.com.
Bonds has been in the headlines in recent years after being linked to baseball's steroids scandal.
Live special covering the return of major league baseball. Documents the state of the game since the August 12, 1994 strike, as well as the financial impact of the strike. Also includes a roundtable discussion and interviews with players, owners and sportscasters.