When Michael Jordan was at the top of his game in the NBA, no one was bigger. He was everywhere: TV, commercials and even the movies. In 1996, Jordan starred in Space Jam, a blockbuster family comedy where he was recruited by the Looney Tunes to help them beat a bunch of bad guys in a basketball game. It blended live action, animation and featured cameos from dozens of prominent NBA players as well as stars like Bill Murray and Wayne Knight.
These days, the closest thing we have to Michael Jordan is the two-time reigning NBA Champion Lebron James. He’s just started to dip his toes into films and now he’s lining up his own battle with the Looney Tunes. This isn’t a joke, the sons of legendary sportscaster Dick Ebersol have just come onboard to develop a sequel to Space Jam as a starring vehicle for James. Willie Ebersol will write the screenplay and his brother, Charlie Ebersol, will produce.
Update: After Deadline published its story, Brian Windhorst at ESPN reported that reps for James denied that any project is in development. A film could still be in development at Warner Bros., but not with James. James also commented.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 by Angie Han
Danny Boyle‘s next move could be a sports film. The British filmmaker is reportedly working on a biopic of tennis icon Billie Jean King, specifically her legendary “Battle of the Sexes” match against Bobby Riggs in 1973.
That sounds pretty interesting as it is, but what makes this project even more intriguing is that it reunites him with two men behind his biggest recent successes: writer Simon Beaufoy and producer Christian Colson, who both worked on Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. Hit the jump for more details.
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Briefly: That shot above is the first look at Hands of Stone, in which Edgar Ramirez (Carlos) plays Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán, who fought some of the top talents in boxing (from Sugar Ray Leonard to Hector Camacho to Thomas Hearns) and fought during five decades and held world titles in four different weight classes: lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight.
In 1980, Durán beat Sugar Ray Leonard in a 15-round fight to win the world Welterweight title. Later that year, in November, a rematch went the other way when Durán returned to his corner in the eighth round to quit the fight. While his precise words at the time have been contested over the years, what has gone down in history is that he said ”no más” to stop the bout.
Robert De Niro co-stars as Duran’s trainer Ray Arcel (who trained the boxer until that botched rematch with Leonard) in the film directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz. Hands of Stone also features Ruben Blades, Ellen Barkin, and John Turturro. [Collider]
Finally, The Rock has come back to TV! Dwayne Johnson is quickly becoming one of the biggest action stars in the world, but he’ll soon put that aside to headline a new HBO show called Ballers. The half-hour dramedy follow a group of former and current football players and was just picked up to series. It’s being produced by its own all-star team including Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg, who’ll direct the pilot, and Entourage‘s Stephen Levinson, who wrote the script. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 by Angie Han
The 2014 box office has not been kind so far to Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart. Teller’s That Awkward Moment had a disappointing opening this past weekend, while Eckhart’s I, Frankenstein completely bombed the week before that. But perhaps they’ll fare better when they join forces, with a bit of help from executive producer Martin Scorsese.
The pair are attached to star in Bleed for This, a biopic of boxer Vinny Pazienza being written and directed by Ben Younger (Boiler Room, Prime). Teller will star as the athlete, while Eckhart will play his trainer. Learn more about Pazienza’s remarkable story after the jump.
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If ever a movie was made with the sole purpose to be sold at the Super Bowl, it’s Ivan Reitman‘s Draft Day. The film opens April 11 and stars Kevin Costner as the GM of the Cleveland Browns, a team in desperate need of a kick in the ass. And that’s exactly what they do at the 2014 NFL Draft, the event where the 32 NFL teams select the best college players in the world. The film has the full cooperation of the NFL, features cameos galore, and was actually filmed at last year’s draft, giving the whole thing an eerie sense of reality.
Written by Scott Rothman and Rajiv Joseph, Draft Day was on the top of The Black List a few years back and for good reason. It blends the drama and intensity of NFL with a heartwarming story of a man facing impossible odds. The only other place NFL superfans and non-fans really crossover is during the Super Bowl, so check out the spot below.
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How great is the story at the heart of the doc The Battered Bastards of Baseball? Only a handful of people have seen the film so far, which documents the history of independent baseball team the Portland Mavericks, which had a Hollywood pedigree and earned a huge fanbase thanks to earnest, accomplished play. The film just premiered at Sundance. There isn’t even a distribution deal set for the doc. Nevertheless, it is already set to be adapted into a dramatic feature, with Fast and the Furious director Justin Lin producing and set to direct.
Update: Actually, Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children) will write and direct, with Lin producing, contrary to the first report about the project. That’s actually a very appropriate call, as we explain below.
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Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2014 by Angie Han
Attack the Block star John Boyega will go from battling aliens in South London to racing Olympians in Nazi Germany. The British actor is set to lead Race, a biopic of legendary athlete Jesse Owens. Stephen Hopkins (The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Showtime’s House of Lies) will direct.
Owens is most famous for his performance at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The African-American track and field star won four gold medals at the Games, which Adolf Hitler had intended to be a showcase of Aryan superiority. More details on the movie after the jump.
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