James Franco is in negotiations to direct the movie “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN” for Focus Features.
The project is based on the 2011 book of the same name by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales, which recapped the formation of the sports network, based on interviews with more than 500 people. ESPN was launched in 1979 by Bill Rasmussen and his son Scott as the world’s first 24-hour cable TV network. It saw success by telecasting the early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament and the NFL Draft.
“Halt and Catch Fire” co-creator Christopher C. Rogers has been hired to re-write the script. Miller was tapped to adapt the script in 2015. Michael De Luca, Jamie Patricof, and Julie Yorn are producing the film.
Franco produced, directed, and starred in “The Disaster Artist,” which received strong reviews and earned one Academy Award nomination for adapted screenplay (for Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber).
The news come in the wake of controversy; Franco was accused of inappropriate behavior by five women in January. He denied the allegations.
HBO programming chief Casey Bloys said Wednesday that the network decided to move forward on a second season of “The Deuce,” which Franco stars in and executive producer, after internal discussions and a conversation with producers and cast.
Franco’s directing credits include “In Dubious Battle,” “As I Lay Dying,” and “The Sound and the Fury.” He is starring in the Coen brothers’ Netflix movie “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” which will debut at the Venice Film Festival, and the sci-fi actioner “Kin.” Franco is represented by UTA, Anonymous Content, and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern. Rogers is repped by UTA, Management 360, and Bloom Hergott.
A rep for Focus had no comment about the news, which was first reported by Collider.