Joseph Mazzello, the artist formerly known as Jurassic Park's Tim Murphy, has not been idle since reaching adulthood. He made his grown-up breathrough in Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks' HBO mini-series The Pacific, and he's now heading behind the camera to direct the baseball drama Undrafted. He also wrote the screenplay, making sure to include a role for himself. Tyler Hoechlin, himself no stranger to child acting (he was Hanks Jr. in Road To Perdition) also stars.
The story, based on the real experiences of Mazzello's brother, revolves around a college baseball star who doesn't get picked in the Major League draft. As he comes to terms with the disappointment, an impending local game with his "misfit teammates" becomes his obsessive focus.
"I watched for fifteen years as my brother worked tirelessly to make his dream come true only to see it never happen and it was heartbreaking,” says Mazzello. “During that time I saw the love he and his teammates had for each other and for the game that is the heart of our story."
Aside from The Pacific, Mazzello made appearances in GI Joe: Retaliation and David Fincher's The Social Network, and has worked on short films - not least the half-hour project with which he graduated from USC. When Empire spoke to him in 2009 for our Where Are They Now column, he told us he had ambitions to direct again, but on "a grander scale. I'm writing a script, and of course there's a part for me in it!" It's been a few years developing then, but it's great to see it finally coming to fruition.
Aaron Tveit (Les Miserables), Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl), Philip Winchester (Camelot) and James Belushi are also among the cast. Eric Fischer, who himself had something of a baseball career before defecting to film, is producing with Brianna Johnson under his Dead Fish Films banner. Shooting is already underway, with an expected release sometime next year.