EXCLUSIVE: Ross Katz, who produced The Laramie Project and the superb HBO pic Taking Chance, has signed on to write Out At Home: The Glenn Burke Story. He joins Juma Entertainment’s Jamie Lee Curtis and Robert Horowitz as producers of the film that tells the story of Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s player Burke, who was honest with his teammates and management that he was gay at a time in the 1970s when such a revelation was unheard of. It’s still perilous today, though the Brooklyn Nets’ Jason Collins just became the first openly gay player to play on a major pro sports roster, and 2013 SEC co-defensive player of the year Michael Sam is preparing to enter the NFL draft as football’s first openly gay player.
I have been surprised by the level of discussion on ESPN, where some ex-jocks expect Sam’s draft stock to fall simply because of the awkwardness in the locker room and the prospect that some athletes won’t accept him. Seems to me that skeptical players might want to watch the Jackie Robinson movie 42 before they decide whether they want to be on the right or wrong side of this issue when it is judged half a century down the road. I just don’t see much difference between Robinson’s struggle against racists and a player like Sam as they try to overcome bigotry to be accepted for their outsized athletic skills, and the right to be comfortable in their own skin.
All this brings a timely context to Out At Home, which is based on a 1995 memoir Burke wrote with Erik Sherman. Drafted by the Dodgers in 1972 and hailed as baseball’s next superstar, Burke played in the majors from 1976-79. He was the only rookie to start in the 1977 World Series, when the Yankees defeated the Dodgers in 6 games. A larger-than-life character both on and off the field, Burke unexpectedly was traded to Oakland in 1978. He retired after his second season with the A’s. Although his teammates and management knew the truth, Burke didn’t go public with his sexuality until 1982, in an appearance on NBC’s Today with Bryant Gumbel. It was still an act of courage, because Burke was the first ballplayer to do so. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Gold Circle Films is out to cast on The Brotherhood of the Rose, an adaptation of the David Morrell novel that will be the next film directed by Ross Katz. Katz will shoot it early next year. After getting Oscar nominations for producing In the Bedroom and Lost in Translation, Katz made his directing debut on the 2009 HBO film Taking Chance. The film starred Kevin Bacon as a soldier escorting home to Wyoming the body of a 19- year old marine soldier who was killed in action. Katz, who wrote the script, won DGA and WGA Awards, and Bacon won a Golden Globe for his performance.
Katz and his producing partner Fred Berger adapted The Brotherhood of the Rose from the 1984 novel by Morrell, who also wrote First Blood, the novel that hatched the Rambo series with Sly Stallone. The Brotherhood of the Rose was turned into a 1989 NBC miniseries that starred Robert Mitchum and Peter Strauss. The feature started development at Warner Bros but it languished until Gold Circle picked up the lapsed rights. It is an espionage tale revolving two orphans who were raised by a CIA operative to be assassins, and find themselves targeted for death. Gold Circle’s Paul Brooks will produce, Scott Niemeyer and Norm Waitt will be exec producers and Guy Danella is co-producer. Gold Circle just wrapped The Haunting in Georgia for Lionsgate and is prepping the comedy Pitch Perfect for … Read More »
FilmNation Entertainment is building the action-thriller The Amateur American around British actor Luke Evans. The pic, written and to be directed by Ross Katz, is scheduled to shoot in September. It’s another case of a financier speculating on an actor it thinks will turn into one of the next young stars, and also another in a growing trend of offshore thesps tapped to play Americans. That has become a regular occurrence in superhero movies from Batman to Superman and Spider-Man, among others. What has happened to the American action hero gene pool?
FilmNation was sold on Evans after watching his work in its just-wrapped The Raven, in which he starred alongside John Cusack. Evans also played Apollo in Clash of the Titans, plays Zeus in the upcoming Immortals, and Aramis in The Three Musketeers.Writer-director Katz produced such indie films as In The Bedroom and Lost In Translation, and made his directorial debut on the Kevin Bacon-starrer Taking Chance for HBO.
The action-thriller is about a young American living in Paris who accepts a job working for a shadowy employer and soon finds himself framed for murder and caught up in a web of deceit. The pic will be produced by FilmNation Entertainment’s Aaron Ryder and Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman. FilmNation will begin selling foreign territories. No domestic deal has yet been set.
FilmNation just wrapped House at the End of the Street with Winter’s Bone star Jennifer Lawrence and Likely … Read More »