Shelton to direct film about embattled slugger

Ron Shelton has been set by HBO Films to direct a pic about San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds that will air on HBO.

Bonds ended a season in which he broke baseball’s all-time home run record only to be indicted on federal charges for perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying under oath when he told a grand jury he had never used performance-enhancing drugs.

HBO Films has acquired rights to “Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO and the Steroids Scandal That Rocked Professional Sports,” a book by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, the San Francisco Chronicle reporters who broke numerous stories about the nutrition company accused of distributing illegal steroids to athletes including Bonds, Oakland A’s and New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi and Olympic gold medal sprinter Marion Jones.

Shelton will write the script with his “Tin Cup” writing partner John Norville as soon as the writers strike ends. The film will be exec produced by Ross Greenburg, the HBO Sports president who exec produced Roger Maris biopic “61*,” Michael Greenburg (“Stargate SG-1”), who’s now exec producer of Score Prods., and Shelton. Norville will co-produce.

Bonds, who will be arraigned next month, is painted in “Game of Shadows” as a gifted player who made a Faustian bargain to increase his power.

Bonds was already considered one of baseball’s best players when he allegedly turned to performance-enhancing drugs after watching bulked-up sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa race to break Maris’ single-season record of 61 homers in 1998.

By the time a muscle-bound Bonds broke McGwire’s single-season record of 70 and passed Henry Aaron’s all-time mark of 755 homers, his accomplishments were derided by media convinced he got there by cheating.

Shelton’s sports-film directing credits include “Bull Durham,” the Ty Cobb feature “Cobb,” “Tin Cup” and “White Men Can’t Jump.”

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