'ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun' Book Moves Closer to Becoming Movie

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterSeptember 26, 2013

Photo credit: James Andrew Miller
Photo credit: James Andrew Miller

Millions tune into the network to get their sports fix, and many picked up the book that described in detail all the antics behind the scenes in the early years. Now ESPN may soon be turned into a movie. 

TheWrap (h/t The Sherman Report) reports a movie adaptation of ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun is in the works, being picked up by the team working on Fifty Shades of Grey:

Always on the lookout for smart projects in turnaround, Focus Features has acquired screen rights to “ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun” and attached Derek Cianfrance to direct the film, TheWrap has learned.

Photo credit: Fansided
Photo credit: Fansided

Cianfrance's recent work includes directing 2010's Blue Valentine and 2012's The Place Beyond the Pines, which featured Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper: 

20th Century Fox acquired the book by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales back in July 2011. Several months ago, Fox put the movie into turnaround, though Focus has come to the rescue, recognizing the project’s potential.

The move reunites Focus with “Fifty Shades of Grey” producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, who will produce with Jamie Patricof and Lynette Howell.The quartet are currently searching for a writer to adapt the book.

Co-author Miller will executive produce, and Alissa Phillips is working on the film for DeLuca’s company.

It's good to see Miller attached to oversee the production of the movie. The author is rather prolific on Twitter and had the following tip of the hat to the movie's director: 

As Ed Sherman noted, the extensive oral history of the network might cause issues for a writer trying to condense over 30 years into what might be two hours of film. 

De Luca and Brunetti produced David Fincher's popular 2010 movie The Social Network, which tackled the story of Facebook's tumultuous creation and its controversial founder Mark Zuckerberg, which was no small task.  

The hope is that producers can once again find a cast and crew to pull off a mammoth retelling. 

As Awful Announcing's Ben Koo writes, there is a lot of hope for the movie actually getting made: Focus is a strong albeit small studio, and Cianfrance commands quality actors. 

What's left for fans is to reread their own copies of the book and imagine the star-studded cast that would do such beloved hosts, anchors and reporters justice on the big screen. 

Aug 3, 2013; Canton, OH, USA; Chris Berman emcees the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The idea for ESPN to get a Hollywood nod has been bumped around since 2011. At the time, sites like SportsGrid and Business Insider suggested their own dream casts. 

Go ahead and offer up your own. We like to think the likes of Gosling and Cooper will get discussed. Would you buy either as Bill Simmons?

Maybe Jonah Hill or John C. Reilly could tackle the raspy and booming Chris Berman. Perhaps Paul Giamatti would give Charley Steiner a go.

Either way, we can steal a little bit of fun from guys who seem to have all of it by guessing who stars in a movie that has been decades in the making.