James Franco in talks to direct ESPN biopic 'Those Guys Have All the Fun'
'Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN' will be written by 'Halt and Catch Fire' co-creator Christopher C Rogers and James Franco could very well be directing it
Actor James Franco is in talks to direct ESPN's biopic 'Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN' at Focus Features. ESPN had changed the face of television when it first telecasted what would eventually become the channel's first flagship program in September 1979 called 'SportsCenter'. The channel was initially being broadcasted from its studio in Bristol, Connecticut, and presently has offices operating from Miami, New York City, Seattle, Charlotte, and Los Angeles. The channel is currently being headed by James Pitaro who took up the position on March 5, 2018 following John Skipper's resignation on December 18, 2017.
The channel is considered to be a powerhouse in sports TV and is reportedly now a part of Disney's collection of assets after Mouse House's acquisition of ABC. However, the actual story behind all the glamour has never been told on screen. In 2011 James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales released the book 'Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN' which finally brought out the history behind the establishment of the prominent sports media house. Based on more than 500 interviews, the book reveals the secret lives and happenings of ESPN insiders, athletes, and others.
The book is now being adapted into a movie that will probably work as a corporate biopic of ESPN such as 'The Social Network' and 'Moneyball'. The film that is coming from Focus Features is being written by the 'Halt and Catch Fire' co-creator Christopher C Rogers. Miller was initially hired to write the script in 2015, he told SportsCenter anchor Dan Patrick that the film will essentially be a corporate biopic. The film will delve deep into the creation of the channel by Bill Rasmussen and his son Scott woh had to drain out most of their money in order to reserve a satellite transponder so that they could broadcast sports events all day long.
Although the Rasmussens are the central characters of the film, the other key characters will include the former Getty Oil executive Stu Evey who became the founding chairman of ESPN, Chet Simmons the NBC chairman who left NBC in order to work with ESPN, RCA salesman Al Parinello, Claude Bishop executive of Anheuser-Busch and Scotty Connal, a former VP of production at ESPN. The film is being produced by Michael De Luca, Jamie Patricof, and Julie Yorn, although the executive producer is not yet decided upon.
It will be interesting to see how Franco puts up with all the expectations with a biopic on one of the ruling houses in media.
In January, James Franco was accused by five women who claim that the actor had physically abused them. Although Franco has denied any such claims, he certainly did miss out on his Oscar nomination for his performance in 'The Disaster Artist'.
While HBO chief Casey Bloys seems to be uncomfortable to put the second season of Franco's series 'The Deuce', the making of the film might be a directorial evolution for Franco.
Franco already has quite a number of films to his directorial credit such as 'Zeroville', 'The Long Home', and 'The Pretenders'. He will be seen in the upcoming sci-fi action movie 'Kin', and is currently producing the stripper saga 'Zola' for A24.