Casey Affleck to Write & Direct Film About Baseball's Josh Hamilton
While his brother Ben Affleck has quickly taken to directing successfully with films like Gone Baby Gone, The Town and the forthcoming Argo, the younger Casey Affleck dove into directing with a controversial and strange project called I'm Still Here, the faux documentary chronicling the fall of Joaquin Phoenix from big screen fame to a strange rap career. But now the Oceans Eleven franchise star is looking to get back behind the camera with a film following Josh Hamilton, a young baseball prodigy who fell into drugs, hit rock bottom hard, but picked himself up and became one of baseball's best major league players. Read on!
Hamilton's career started strong as he was the first player picked in the Major League Baseball draft in 1999 and made the roster of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with a $4 million contract, joining their minor league program. But when a tragic car accident her his mother badly and injured Hamilton's back a couple years into his career, he found himself without the support of his parents and fell into a downward spiral accelerated by alcohol and cocaine. Hiding the white stuff in his uniform was one step too far and the team sent him to rehab to get clean. Hamilton headed home and found solace in meeting his future wife Katie, but his continued substance abuse led to his being kicked out of baseball and alienating himself from his wife and newborn daughter as he wasted money on crack, even going so far as to pawn his wife's wedding ring.
His wife, parents and even his grandmother all threw him around, trying to help him overcome his addiction but to no avail. It wasn't until he found a job at a local training facility, after another stint in rehab, that he got a job cleaning toilets. And if it wasn't for the drug riddled history before this, the next part of the story would feel very familiar. One day, he asked if he could throw a few pitches, and shocked everyone with a 95mph fastball. That small success was enough to make him realize he had hit rock bottom. Quitting drugs, repairing his broken marriage and embracing religion gave him the confidence to petition the baseball commissioner to try his hand at professional baseball again, and he ended up back in the MLB in 2007. Currently you'll find him on the Texas Rangers, belting homers and taking his spot in baseball history.
That's a story definitely worth a big screen adaptation. It has all the staples of baseball movies like The Natural but with the troubled drug addiction of Walk the Line or Ray, not to mention the marriage on the rocks and fall from grace. Unlike his brother, Casey Affleck isn't looking to star in his own film, so there's a great opportunity for a young actor to stretch their dramatic chops and maybe even snag an Oscar nomination down the road. Deadline says Affleck is shopping the project around to studios soon, and we'll do our best to keep you posted as the project develops.