Baseball star Josh Hamilton’s life story has enough ups and downs to make for a compelling narrative feature, and it appears that Casey Affleck is game to make it happen. Hamilton has entrusted his life rights to producer Basil Iwanyk and Thunder Road for Affleck to write and direct a feature film based on his story. Hamilton’s ability to throw a 96mph fast ball by the age of 15 turned heads in the right places, and he was eventually chosen as the first pick in the 1999 MLB draft. He signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but succumbed to alcohol and cocaine abuse following a car accident that seriously injured his back. Hit the jump for more.
Hamilton ended up in rehab where he met his future wife, but failed drug tests and was suspended multiple times, eventually landing a job cleaning toilets at a training facility in Florida. After hitting rock bottom, Hamilton embraced the Christian faith, focused on being a good husband and father, and returned to Major League Baseball to much fanfare. His comeback began after being picked up by the Cincinatti Reds in 2007, and he moved to the Texas Rangers in 2008.
Hamilton continued to thrive, and was eventually selected to participate in the 2008 Home Run Derby. He went on to win the ALCS MVP Award in 2010 when the Rangers defeated the New York Yankees to advance to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. Hamilton has had a couple of slips with alcohol recently, but has so far steer clear of any more serious relapses. Iwanyk is confident that Hamilton’s story is prime for a feature film adaptation, per a quote in Deadline‘s report:
“It’s also tailor-made for a movie: it has the mythic quality of The Natural, the faith-based angle of The Blind Side, and faith is a major part of our story, and the romance of Walk the Line. Casey has totally captured those elements in his take for the movie. It is an extraordinary odyssey that took him from the depths of drug addiction, estrangement from his family, and suspension from baseball to a spectacular rebirth of his life, faith, marriage and major league career.”
Affleck made his feature directorial debut with the 2012 “documentary” I’m Still Here. The film experiment fell flat with audiences and critics, so he’s been careful to choose a follow-up directorial feature. Hamilton’s life story most certainly makes for some great dramatic storytelling, and Casey is likely taking pointers from his brother Ben’s successful directing career. Hopefully he’s put together a fact-based film that highlights the power of redemption while not sugar-coating the rougher edges of Hamilton’s life story.