Every year, the Sundance Film Festival premieres a bounty of incredible nonfiction film stories. Many of them find distribution and go on to become box office hits and even Oscar nominees. Others attract Hollywood players with a different kind of exposure in mind. The goal with those stories is to acquire the rights to make a whole new narrative feature, sometimes leaving the existing documentary version by the wayside if it isn’t picked up in its own right.
This year it’s the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team created in the early 1970s by TV actor Bing Russell and featuring movie star son Kurt Russell on the roster. The doc that tells the story is The Battered Bastards of Baseball. It currently has no deal for distribution, but a remake was announced during the fest to be produced by Justin Lin and possibly scripted and directed by Todd Field, who’d been a batboy for the Mavericks. Another Sundance doc, The Green Prince, about a Palestinian son of a Hamas leader who turns spy for Israel, is also said to be on the remake track.
I’m curious to see how quickly those dramatic retelling hit the screen, and I am also anxious to see the development of Robert Zemeckis‘s just-announced 3D redo of Man on Wire starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as famed funambulist Philippe Petit. The latter project is particularly interesting because not too long ago we’d heard Zemeckis was remaking Marwencol. Maybe he’s doing both, and maybe this is the filmmaker’s new thing – or maybe neither will happen at all.