After two distinctly personal, serious dramas in Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond The Pines, Derek Cianfrance may be taking the leap into bigger studio fare. But if he does he will stick close to one of his big interests as a big sports fan and director of sporting goods adverts. He’s now in talks to take on ESPN: These Guys Have All The Fun for Focus Features.
As you might be able to guess from the title, the planned film – drawn from James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ oral history of the dominant sports network channel – will tell the story of the company’s roots and how it became such a huge brand.
While there’s clearly a fascinating tale to be mined here, the prospect has defeated at least one studio already. 20th Century Fox bought the rights to the 2011 book originally, but couldn’t make it work and tossed the project into turnaround. Now Focus apparently has a take it likes and wants Cianfrance to direct. And with producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti (the brave souls turning 50 Shades Of Grey into a movie andthe guys behind The Social Network) aboard, there’s a good chance they might succeed, assuming they can find the right scriptwriter.
Cianfrance already has one other project in development – he recently signed on to direct novel adaptation The Light Between Oceans for DreamWorks. He’s also directing Metalhead, the story of a former heavy metal drummer who blows his eardrums out and must adapt to a world of silence.