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.
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 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.
Though La Russa has already cast his vote in favor of Morgan Freeman, purely on likeness, I’ll nominate Jim Belushi.
SI.com’s Jon Heyman says Kaz Matsui’s turned down $1.5 million from the Rockies, but “apparently he’d like to try to get another deal where he’s overpaid, although maybe not quite as much as when he was with the Mets.”