Let’s hope Derek Cianfrance doesn’t fall into that dreaded “sign everything remotely interesting thrown your way” pattern. After this spring’s The Place Beyond the Pines made itself a decent amount of dollars — as far as two-and-a-half-hour independent films go, at least — there was news, earlier this month, that DreamWorks had tapped the writer-director for The Light Between Oceans. A good sign, really: only a few years out from his breakthrough, there was an opportunity that carried the genuine significance of falling under a studio’s umbrella. But, now, there’s something possibly bigger in scale, more lucrative in the attention it’s to receive, and equally close to his own interests.
As reported by TheWrap, Cianfrance intends to make a Pines reunion with Focus Features, with the company having picked up rights to ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun, a screen adaptation of James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales‘ acclaimed, thorough detailing of the eponymous network’s rise over three-plus decades of programming. (Fitting, given the man’s exciting, technically complex commercials for Dick’s Sporting Goods.) Producers Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca (The Social Network, Fifty Shades of Grey) are seeking a scribe, who’s to have the (potentially) difficult task of translating an oral history (consisting of more than 500 interview segments) into palpable screen dramatics — all of which may very well be present on the page, but not necessarily in the most accessible manner. Might their hired hand take up that task for himself?
Only time will tell, and it hasn’t been specified what the helmer is even doing next; following Blue Valentine and Pines, this writer’s hard-pressed to imagine a young-ish, critically acclaimed voice who’s not in demand to some extent. Whatever Cianfrance calls the shots on in a year or two, it could offer the chance to further develop his skillset — in which case, there’s no bad choice.
Here’s a summary of the original text (via Amazon):
“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.”
Is Cianfrance the right voice to tell ESPN’s story?