Derek Cianfrance to Direct Adaptation of Oral History ESPN: THOSE GUYS HAVE ALL THE FUN

     September 25, 2013

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Derek Cianfrance’s first two feature films, Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, were heavy, family dramas.  Earlier this month, he signed on to direct another one with The Light Between Oceans, which is about a husband a wife dealing with the consequences of raising an abandoned infant when it washes up on the shore of their lighthouse.  But it turns out that Cianfrance isn’t opposed to somewhat lighter fare as The Wrap is reporting he’s set to adapt ESPN: Those Guys Have All the FunJames Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ book provides an oral history of the sports network from those who worked for it over the past several decades.  Fox originally picked up the rights in 2011, but then put the feature into turnaround, which allowed Focus Features to swoop in and develop the project.  Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti (Fifty Shades of Grey) will produce, and they’re currently searching for a writer.

Hit the jump for more.

There will certainly be dramatic conflict within the story, but this looks like it will be a big change of pace for Cianfrancse, and while I’m happy to see whatever he does next, I’d love to see his take on this material.  I don’t know where the focus will be, but I have to imagine that Keith Olbermann will be a big part of the story since he was a key figure in the history of ESPN’s marquee show SportsCenter, and he has butted heads with every network he’s ever been on.  So whom should they get to play the controversial anchor?  Maybe Ben Affleck?

Here’s the official synopsis for ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun:

It began, in 1979, as a mad idea of starting a cable channel to televise local sporting events throughout the state of Connecticut. Today, ESPN is arguably the most successful network in modern television history, spanning eight channels in the Unites States and around the world. But the inside story of its rise has never been fully told-until now.

Drawing upon over 500 interviews with the greatest names in ESPN’s history and an All-Star collection of some of the world’s finest athletes, bestselling authors James Miller and Tom Shales take us behind the cameras. Now, in their own words, the men and women who made ESPN great reveal the secrets behind its success-as well as the many scandals, rivalries, off-screen battles and triumphs that have accompanied that ascent. From the unknown producers and business visionaries to the most famous faces on television, it’s all here. [Amazon]

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