Their last collaboration, sappy sports drama The Blind Side, won Sandra Bullock an Oscar and received a nomination for Best Picture, and now director John Lee Hancock and producer Gil Netter are set to team up again, for an untitled biopic centering on former Major League Baseball all-star Lenny Dykstra.
Details about the project are being kept largely under wraps, so it’s unknown whether the film will focus on Dykstra’s time playing for the New York Mets or on the shady financial empire he built later on, which included a jet charter company and a magazine specifically geared towards professional athletes. Dykstra’s financial dealings after retiring from baseball led to a 2012 conviction for bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering. The former athlete spent six months in prison, did 500 hours of community service, and paid $200,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to the charges.
It’s likely that the film will explore both Dykstra’s successful sports career and what came afterwards, seeing as the filmmakers won’t have to worry about offending the former athlete by delving into the more sordid details of his post-baseball legal troubles. Ever since his release from prison last summer, Dykstra has been vocally optimistic about a potential film based on his life. He even suggested that either Matt Damon or Mark Wahlberg should portray him on screen.
Hancock is no stranger to baseball biopics – he helmed The Rookie, about Jim Morris, the MLB player who debuted at the age of 35, for Disney back in 2002. That film was a major success and was in fact the project that put Hancock on the map. Since The Rookie, he’s directed The Alamo, The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks. Though The Alamo, about the infamous Battle fo the Alamo during the Texas Revolution, was a failure in practically every sense of the word, becoming a box office bomb and received lackluster reviews, both The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks have been very well-received and financially successful.
Though it’s early days still for this biopic, Lenny Dykstra is a fascinating figure in sports, and Hancock seems like a great choice to bring his story to the big screen. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this project.