Todd Field to adapt baseball documentary about Kurt Russell's father

Justin Lin has a lot of projects on his plate after leaving the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise. Aside from directing the next installment in the BOURNE franchise, Lin just recently obtained the rights to a retelling of the Sundance documentary THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL. Based on the story of Russell's father, Bing Russell, THE BATTERED BASTARDS is a film tailor-made for the big screen. Documentary directors Chapman Way and Maclain Way were being pursued by multiple studios before Lin won the rights.

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 a 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.

Russell himself played for the team and IN THE BEDROOM director Todd Field is in talks to helm the film. Lin will produce the film through his Perfect Storm production company. Russell has been toying with the idea of making his father's story into a film before the documentary was realized. Now he is considering possibly playing Bing in the movie, as he told Collider.

“In the last three days, obviously for the reasons you asked, I’ve started thinking about it more, and maybe we’ll be forced to think about it further… There’ll be lots of people that I think in my mind [are possibilities] to play different people, but you can’t not think about it. And after seeing this, you can’t not say it’s compelling.”

Sports movies are great until they become too preachy or too serious. I will always take a movie along the lines of A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN or MAJOR LEAGUE where the comedy balances the drama over something like THE ROOKIE or INVINCIBLE. THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL already has a great title and the potential to be a big ensemble movie. I am especially intrigued if Kurt Russell plays his dad.



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