After opting to take an executive producer role on the sequel to Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief instead of remaining in the director’s chair, Chris Columbus is lining up his next directorial project. Deadline reports that Columbus will produce, write and direct an adaptation of John Grisham’s baseball novel Calico Joe. The book centers on a 21-year-old AA first baseman who is called up to the Cubs when the team is in desperate need of a replacement. Grisham’s book is described as a novel of “fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption.”
Columbus’ last two features, Percy Jackson and I Love You, Beth Cooper, were aimed at decidedly younger audiences, but it appears he’s headed back into family film territory with Calico Joe. The pic will also mark his first writing credit since 2004’s Christmas with the Cranks. He also scripted 1995’s Nine Months, which he directed. Hit the jump to read a synopsis for Calico Joe.
Whatever happened to Calico Joe?
It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a twenty-one-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz.
In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.
Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his Dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever…
In John Grisham’s new novel the baseball is thrilling, but it’s what happens off the field that makes CALICO JOE a classic. [Amazon]