The wild tale of the Portland Mavericks looks to be coming to the big screen via one of its former employees. Little Children director and former Mavericks batboy Todd Field is in talks to direct and write an adaptation of the documentary The Battered Bastards Of Baseball, I’ve learned. Helmed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way and featuring multiple appearances by their uncle and former Maverick himself Kurt Russell, the docu launched in the Documentary Premiere section of this year’s Sundance Film Festival on January 20 and has its final screening tomorrow. Despite reports earlier today that pitched Justin Lin as directing the adaptation, the former Fast & Furious helmer in fact is producing the adaptation through his Perfect Storm company. In play right now with several buyers at Sundance, according to sources close to the film, Battered Bastards chronicles how in 1973 Bonanza actor Bing Russell formed what at the time was America’s sole independent baseball team. Seen as a real-life version of the Bad News Bears, the Mavericks lasted three years before they were pushed out of Portland by the return of the major-league-backed Portland Beavers. Field is repped by CAA.
The sequel to summer hit Fast & Furious 6, which scored the best worldwide opening in Universal’s history, continues to add actors who are new to the franchise. The latest to join the Fast & Furious 7 cast are Kurt Russell, who weeks ago had been said to be talks for a role, and John Brotherton. Vin Diesel confirmed Russell’s casting in a Facebook post complete with a photo — the Fast & Furious veteran’s page has nearly 48 million likes — but there are no details on his character. Sources tell Deadline that Brotherton, whose credits include The Conjuring, Jane By Design and One Life To Live, will play Sheppard, who’s described as the Russell character’s right-hand man. Russell — whose five-decade career includes such films as Escape From New York, Backdraft, Stargate and Grindhouse — next appears in the western Bone Tomahawk. James Wan’s Fast & Furious 7 is shooting in Atlanta with Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Lucas Black and franchise rookies including Jason Statham and Djimon Hounsou.
New York, NY, January 4, 2012 – Dimension Films announced that it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the heist comedy THE BLACK MARKS from Darius Films starring Kurt Russell (DEATHRPROOF), Matt Dillon (CRASH, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY) and Jay Baruchel (KNOCKED UP). The film is written and directed by Jonathan Sobol (A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO ENDINGS). The announcement was made today by Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company.
Crunch Calhoun (Russell), a third rate motorcycle daredevil and semi-reformed art thief, agrees to get back into the con game and pull off just one more lucrative art theft with his untrustworthy brother Nicky (Dillon). Crunch reassembles the old team and comes up with a plan to steal a priceless historical book, but the successful heist leads to another, far riskier, plan devised by Nicky. What the brothers don’t realize is they each have their own agenda and their plan goes awry in this con movie about brotherhood, honor and revenge.
Anchor Bay has acquired North American distribution rights to Touchback, the Don Handfield-directed gridiron drama that stars Kurt Russell, Brian Presley, Melanie Lynskey, Christine Lahti, Drew Powell, Kevin Covais and Marc Blucas. The plan is to release the film next year. Presley stars as a struggling farmer and former football hero who laments scoring the winning touchdown in the Ohio State High School Championship game years ago, because he injured his knee and was robbed of a pro career. He goes back in time to the week before the game and struggles over whether to call a different play, and whether he should marry his shigh school sweetheart. Handfield wrote the script, and Freedom Films’ Brian Presley, Kevin Matusow and Carissa Buffel produced. Anchor Bay’s Kevin Kasha brokered the deal with Gersh’s Jay Cohen. Hannibal Classics is handling foreign sales.
Django Unchained director Quentin Tarantino has offered the role of wealthy plantation owner Spencer Bennett to Don Johnson, and they are negotiating for Johnson to join a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Kurt Russell. The picture shoots this fall with The Weinstein Company distributing domestically and Sony foreign. Tarantino is always good for a surprise or two when he goes beyond the obvious casting lists and taps talent from his memory banks, something he has done with the likes of John Travolta and the late David Carradine. Putting the former Miami Vice and Nash Bridges star into a villainous role here seems inspired. The liberated slave Django (Foxx) and his bounty hunter partner (Waltz) meet the evil plantation owner in pursuit of a bounty, and he turns the table on them. Tarantino has been talking to Johnson some time about the role. Johnson most recently played a character called Miles Deep in the recent comedy Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, but soon his most recent credit will be a big Tarantino film.
EXCLUSIVE: If eye patch-wearing antihero Snake Plissken is going to slither in a reboot, it won’t be at New Line and Warner Bros. They’ve allowed the option to drop on a remake they’ve been developing, meaning that the reboot of the John Carpenter-directed 1981 classic is up for grabs. The original starred Kurt Russell as Snake, a tough convict dropped into a futuristic New York that has been turned into a post-apocalyptic maximum security prison. He’s charged with rescuing the president (Donald Pleasence), who is held hostage by the prison kingpin (Isaac Hayes) after his plane within the city walls. Snake’s offered a pardon if he’s successful, but fitted with a lethal device that will kill him if he tries to run or misses the deadline. New Line and producer Neal Moritz have been working on the reboot, most recently with The Crazies helmer Breck Eisner attached to direct, and a script by writers that include Allan Loeb and X-Men: First Class scribe Jamie Moss. There have been rumors of interest from Gerard Butler and Jeremy Renner. Those guys were never confirmed and more recently there was word the studio courted Tom Hardy, whose work in Inception, Warrior and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises has made him a go-to guy for tough man work. Eisner and Moritz are also working on Flash Gordon, and Eisner also is attached to The Last Witch Hunter at Summit.