Choose your weapon: bats or pistols

Long Island native Hank Steinberg graduated from the U. of Pennsylvania with the idea of selling a script on a highly charged moment of American history: the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. The script made the rounds and eventually landed him a writing and producing job for an Oliver Stone miniseries that never got made.

But it was at HBO where Steinberg’s work went beyond the blueprint phase, where execs embraced his pitch about a different kind of duel: the home-run derby of 1961 between fellow New York Yankees Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. The resulting telefilm, “61*,” wound up with a dozen Emmy nominations, including one for Steinberg’s screenplay.

“I’m interested in exploring the complications in the way that people relate to each other and how people define themselves in opposition with other people,” says the 31-year-old writer who’s spent his fair share of time toiling in the trenches, as a production assistant, a temp and a waiter, before his tenacity paid off.

He’s now scripting “Little Brother,” a look at Robert F. Kennedy’s last five years, for cable’s FX; and “Family Firm,” a bigscreen drama for Revolution that Lawrence Kasdan is attached to direct. And oh, yes, HBO bought “The Duel.”

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