La Russa, the movie? Screenplay in the works

Updated: November 3, 2006, 5:03 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Tony La Russa has gone Hollywood.

The New York Times best-seller "3 Nights in August," based on a 2003 series against the Chicago Cubs and delving into La Russa's managing style, may soon be made into a screenplay.

Tony LaRussa
Doug Murray/WireImage.comThe big question: Who will play the role of Tony La Russa?
Producers Kevin Pollak and Kevin Frakes, inspired by the book, were in town during the World Series to witness the culmination of perhaps La Russa's finest managing job. They spent time with the manager and kicked around screenplay ideas as the Cardinals put a late-season swoon behind them and won the franchise's first World Series in 24 years.

The Cardinals' magical October would make a good book, but La Russa doesn't mind the realism surrounding his team's ultimate failure in 2003, though.

"The thing about '03 is there was no Hollywood ending," La Russa said. "The series ended like Hollywood, but we got beat."

Coincidentally, 2003 is the one season this decade in which the Cardinals didn't make the postseason.

"It's a different kind of sports book and I'm hoping it's a different kind of sports movie," Pollak said. "It's one thing for me to love going to see Field of Dreams or Bull Durham, and it's one thing to want to emulate certain emotions or aspects of other baseball movies.

"This is an insider's view to a world that has never really been known or told."

Pollak envisions a behind-the-scenes biopic using an actor portraying Buzz Bissinger, the book's author, as a vehicle that'll help viewers get to know the manager.

La Russa's Competition: Movie Managers
Film Manager Team Second Guessing
A League Of Their Own Jimmy Dugan Rockford Peaches Allows Dottie Hinson trade to Racine.
Major League Lou Brown Cleveland Indians Why are you pitching to Clue Haywood?
Bull Durham Joe Riggins Durham Bulls Shouldn't Annie be managing this team?
Bad News Bears Morris Buttermaker Bears/Chico's Bail Bonds Amanda Whurlitzer needs Tommy John surgery.
The Natural Pop Fisher New York Knights Blind eye to Hobbs' off-field problems.

La Russa is a co-producer in the venture. The movie lacks a director and a lead actor, although Frakes said there's a short list for both jobs.

They won't reveal their top choice for the lead role, the only certainty is that La Russa won't play himself. Frakes said he was thinking a "little bit bigger" than, for instance, Tom Sizemore, who recently portrayed Pete Rose, and though Billy Bob Thornton also was seen hanging out with La Russa during the World Series, he said that was just a coincidence.

The movie makers plan on using existing footage whenever possible. They're uncertain which stadium would come close to old Busch Stadium, which was demolished to make way for the new Busch before this season.

"One of the difficult things is this doesn't look anything like the old Busch," Frakes said. "We're trying to find an old stadium that we can cheat with."

The film makers hope to begin rolling by the end of next season, and Cardinals players will be recruited for on-field roles. But probably not former reserve outfielder Kerry Robinson, whose clashes with La Russa were well-documented in the book.

"I don't think we're going to get Kerry to participate," Pollak said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press