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‘Fast and Furious’ Director Justin Lin to Tackle ‘The Battered Bastards of Baseball’

Battered Bastards of Baseball Justin Lin
Sundance/Universal

Before he went on to direct four entries in the lovably ludicrous ‘Fast and Furious‘ series, Justin Lin was known for his small, personal film, ‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ (and, uh, ‘Annapolis’). The latest project on his plate looks like it could be a return to the smaller, more character-driven films of his early work: producing a feature adaptation of the acclaimed documentary ‘The Battered Bastards of Baseball.’

‘The Battered Bastards of Baseball,’ which premiered to rave reviews at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of actor Bing Russell, who left Hollywood behind in 1973 to form the only independent baseball team in America, the Portland Mavericks. With no major league affiliation, the team held open try-outs and formed a roster of Average Joes and professional rejects. Although it had no right to work, the team proved massively successful, boasting players like Jim Bouton and actor Kurt Russell (Bing’s son!). The team also hired the sport’s first female general manager and hired future filmmaker Todd Field as a batboy.

In short, it’s one of those sports stories that would be totally unbelievable if it wasn’t 100% true, making it a perfect fit for a more traditional Hollywood approach. Although the documentary will undoubtedly see some kind of release, many more people will turn out for a narrative version, and it will be fun to compare the two and see what Lin takes (and doesn’t take) from the source material.

Lin’s production company won the remake rights after an intense bidding war with other major studios and director Tom Field is said to be in negotiations to helm the adaptation, meaning that this is a hot project and Lin is excited about it. We don’t know what this means for the upcoming ‘Bourne’ sequel that Lin is attached to, but we’d rather see him tackle this than another action movie. After all, every generation needs its great baseball movie and this could be it.

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