Tollin, Rigberg acquire life rights; director Levinson set
With the 2012 baseball season set to kick off, Hollywood is shining a spotlight on one of the game’s greatest legends: Hank Aaron.Producers Mike Tollin and Glenn Rigberg have acquired the rights to bring Hammerin’ Hank’s story to life, with Barry Levinson (“The Natural”) set to helm from a script by Adam Mazer (“Empire State”). Project, based on Howard Bryant book “The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron,” will follow the right fielder’s chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record from 1972 to 1974. “This was a difficult time in my life,” Aaron said, “but I’m confident we can all learn a little something from looking back at those times.” Aaron ended the 1973 season one home run shy of the record, finally eclipsing Ruth’s mark with his 715th home run on April 8, 1974. Project will fall under the banner of Mandalay Sports Media, a newly formed venture between Peter Guber (who will exec produce) and Tollin, with no studio as yet onboard to distribute. The next task is to find an actor to play Aaron, whose record was eclipsed by Barry Bonds in 2007. Mazer and Levinson have pulled off biopics before, working together on HBO telepic “You Don’t Know Jack.” That Jack Kevorkian bio won a handful of Emmys, including best writing for Mazer. “My first sports memory as a kid was watching Henry Aaron hit No. 715,” Mazer said. “At the time, I had no idea how profound a moment it was for baseball and, more importantly, the nation. To have the opportunity now to bring his harrowing journey to the screen is an honor and a thrill.” As for Tollin, he’s no stranger to the Aaron story, having written, produced and helmed the 1995 docu “Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream.” He is also a board member of the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream foundation, which has donated millions of dollars to inner city youth. Mazer is repped by ICM and Inphenate; Levinson is repped by UTA and 3 Arts; and Tollin is repped by CAA.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more