Big League Stew

Josh Hamilton movie coming, Casey Affleck to direct and write

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(AP)

It was just a matter of time before Josh Hamilton's famous life story went Hollywood, and now a movie project about him is in the hands of Casey Affleck.

Deadline reports that Affleck has signed on to write and direct a biopic about Hamilton, the Texas Rangers slugger who has become perhaps the league's top player after a rise and fall that, well, Hollywood probably couldn't have scripted.

Deadline describes Hamilton's life and career as that like Roy Hobbs in "The Natural," only with "self-inflicted wounds." Addiction specialists might quibble with that but hey, we're trying to pitch a movie here, so it's OK to make with the imperfect metaphors:

A bonafide prodigy who was throwing a 96 mph fast ball by age 15, Hamilton was the first player chosen in the 1999 Major League Baseball draft, signing with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for a record $4 million. His parents stuck close to their son, until the three were broadsided by another car. His mother was badly hurt and his parents went home to North Carolina. That left Hamilton, who hurt his back in the accident, on his own for the first time in his life. He didn't handle it well. Beer led to the first line of cocaine, and by the time he came off the disabled list and tore his quadriceps muscle to end his season, he was hopelessly hooked. The following season, he got to the point he hid coke in his uniform during minor league games and when the team found out and sent him to the Betty Ford clinic to straighten out, he went home. There, he met his future wife Katie, but his problems got worse and he failed drug tests and got suspended multiple times, until he was finally kicked out of baseball altogether.

Oh, THAT Josh Hamilton. And I got the perfect guy to play him.

Affleck has probably already set the wheels in motion, too, with his buddy Cole Hauser. He's athletic-looking, he's a solid actor, he's worked with Affleck before (both Afflecks — Ben, too), he's thrown out the first pitch at a Texas Rangers game and he's got the same naturally kinky hair. You might remember him from "Dazed and Confused," or "Good Will Hunting" or "Pitch Black."

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(AP)

As for Casey Affleck, he's not going to appear in the film, and his résumé as a filmmaker isn't terribly long — "I'm Still Here" got mixed reviews but was lauded for being unique. But I suspect that his heart will be in the right place. "Josh Hamilton: The Movie" should be a good flick, if properly handled.

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