Universal, Berg ride with Barbaro

Film based on Bissinger article in Vanity Fair

Universal Pictures has acquired screen rights to “Gone Like the Wind,” a Buzz Bissinger-penned article in the August issue of Vanity Fair about 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.

Peter Berg will direct the film and produce through his Film 44 shingle with Sarah Aubrey.

Barbaro won the 2006 Kentucky Derby so convincingly that many felt he could win horse racing’s Triple Crown. Tragedy struck in the Preakness, when the horse bolted out of the gate and almost immediately shattered one of its hind legs.

The article focuses on the attempt by owners Gretchen and Roy Jackson, trainer Michael Matz and veterinary surgeon Dean Richardson to come up with a humane way to stabilize the injury and keep the horse alive. The country rallied around the horse, but it was euthanized nearly eight months after being injured.

Berg is Bissinger’s cousin and previously co-wrote and directed a 2004 Universal film based on the sportswriter’s famed high school gridiron saga “Friday Night Lights,” which was later adapted into the NBC series.

Berg, who directed the upcoming Universal drama “The Kingdom,” is in production on the Will Smith-Charlize Theron starrer “Tonight, He Comes.”

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