THE NATURAL Director Barry Levinson to Helm Hank Aaron Biopic

     April 3, 2012

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The story of Hammerin’ Hank is coming to the big screen.  Variety reports that producers Mike Tollin and Glenn Rigberg have acquired the rights to baseball great Hank Aaron’s life story.  Furthermore, they’ve set The Natural director Barry Levinson to helm from a script by Adam Mazer (Empire State).  The story will be based on Howard Bryant’s book The Last Hero: The Life Story of Henry Aaron and “will follow the right fielder’s chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record from 1972 to 1974.  Spoiler alert: Aaron finally eclipsed Ruth’s record with his 715th home run in April of 1974. Hit the jump for more.

This isn’t the only baseball biopic in the works, as Jackie Robinson’s story is being brought to life in 42.  The film chronicles Robinson and Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey’s work to eradicate segregation in baseball, with Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford set as Robinson and Rickey, respectively. Levinson has been hit and miss as of late, but I’m excited to see him returning to familiar territory. He won the Oscar for Best Director with 1988’s Rain Man, and he’s recently been working on bringing Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father to the screen.

That project has had trouble getting off the ground, but if I had to choose between Levinson’s Gotti movie and Levinson’s Hank Aaron movie, I’d go with Aaron every day of the week. Hopefully casting gets underway soon and production can start some time this year. I’ve embedded a video of Aaron talking about his career during a recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman below.

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