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La Russa, the movie? Screenplay in the works

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.

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 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.