Stop me if you heard this one: Geroge Clooney, Jon Grisham, and Bob Dylan get together and say, “Let’s make a movie!” No, this isn’t the set-up of a joke. Instead, it’s news about a new movie. George Clooney is considering directing Calico Joe, a film adapted from the John Grisham novel of the same name. And Bob Dylan’s Grey Water Park Productions is set to produce. While Grisham is primarily known for his legal thrillers, Calico Joe is about a baseball player in the 1970s who ends up in a coma for three decades after being struck by a pitch.
Variety is reporting the Calico Joe movie news, stating that George Clooney and producing/writing partner Grant Heslov are developing the project with Clooney possibly directing as well. And, perhaps most surprising of all, Bob Dylan is also involved in the project, via his Grey Water Park Productions. Here’s the synopsis of Grisham’s book:
It’s the summer of 1973, and Joe Castle is the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone has ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas, dazzles Chicago Cubs fans as he hits home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shatters all rookie records. Calico Joe quickly becomes the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing New York Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faces Calico Joe, Paul is in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his dad. Then Warren throws a fastball that will change their lives forever.
The book is partially inspired by 1920s baseball player Ray Chapman, who is the only Major League Baseball player to die from an injury received during a game. Chapman was struck in the head by a pitch and died 12 hours later. At the time, ballgames would usually only stick with one ball, no matter how damaged or dirty it got. This often made the ball hard to see. After Chapman’s death lead Major League Baseball established a rule to replace a ball during a game whenever it got dirty.
“John has written a beautiful story and the chance to collaborate with Bob to bring it to the screen is just fantastic,” said Clooney and Heslov. Dylan added: “George and Grant see in this book what I see in it – a powerful story that will resonate with young and old alike. People in all walks of life will be able to relate to it.”
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