Yasiel Puig's Harrowing Cuban Escape Story Gets Hollywood Movie Treatment

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterApril 25, 2014

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21:  Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers looks on during a Los Angeles Dodgers MLB training session at Sydney Cricket Ground on March 21, 2014 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

If you thought Yasiel Puig's tale chronicling his escape from Cuba—as told in Los Angeles Magazine's Jesse Katz's article—would make for a fantastic movie, you weren't alone. Guess what is getting the Hollywood treatment at the moment? 

The Hollywood Reporter (h/t Los Angeles Times) reports that captivating story is in the initial throes of being turned into a film: 

In a heated competition, Brett Ratner and his RatPac Entertainment have acquired the rights to Jesse Katz’ article Escape From Cuba: Yasiel Puig's Untold Journey to the Dodgers.

Ratner will produce the big-screen take with Beau Flynn via his FlynnPictureCo. banner.

This is just the latest MLB star to get a nod from Hollywood. Previously, Deadline Hollywood's Mike Fleming Jr. reported Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey's life story had been picked up after the pitcher's memoir Wherever I Wind Up was optioned. 

In this case, the subject matter came in a harrowing and stirring look into one of MLB's more mysterious players. While Puig has energized a fanbase with his explosive and often peculiar play, his personal life remained just that—relatively private. 

In an age when every last piece of a celebrity's life is pored over by the media, Puig's arrival into America was left largely untold. 

While it remains with a healthy amount of intrigue and mystery, Katz was able to really deliver an enthralling and thorough look at a terrifying journey for one of baseball's biggest budding stars. 

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 23:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first on his way to an RBI triple in the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on April 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Du
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

A story now covered not only by Katz but by ESPN's Scott Eden and recounted by Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan who managed to garner information from Coast Guard crew members back in 2013 will now likely play out in theaters. 

At the heart of the tale is a young man who managed to finally get out of Cuba, only to find himself allegedly held hostage by his human smugglers. 

Eventually, Puig found his way to America, exploding onto the MLB scene with the Los Angeles Dodgers all while dealing with a scary situation as well as debts to unsavory characters. 

Meanwhile, Puig is remaining guarded about this unfolding story, issuing the following, via ESPN

I'm aware of the recent articles and news accounts. I understand that people are curious and have questions, but I will have no comment on this subject. I'm represented on this matter, and I'm only focused on being a productive teammate and helping the Dodgers win games.

The Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck has more on the project and the man producing it: 

Brett Ratner and his RatPac Entertainment made the purchase. Ratner is the director who gave Marvel possibly its worst movie, “X-Men: The Last Stand.”


Ratner, who made his mark in Hollywood directing the “Rush Hour” film series, will produce the film with Beau Flynn. The two are the team behind the upcoming new “Hercules” film scheduled to arrive in July, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Fans may have their reservations about Ratner, but there is no shortage of interest in Puig or his story. 

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 11:  Yasiel Puig #66 of the Los Angeles Dodgers signs autographs for fans before the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 11, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This is a ballplayer who is as enigmatic as Manny Ramirez and as versatile as Bo Jackson. One minute he is dropping easy fly balls in the outfield, the next he is throwing a cannon shot to second to gun a runner out. 

He is polarizing, energetic and above all entertaining, and that's all without mentioning a story he is yet to really discuss. 

Some love him and some can't stand his on-the-field antics. Either way, MLB fans have definite opinions on the 23-year-old, making him the perfect subject for Hollywood producers. 

Everybody loves a mystery and Puig remains the sport's most mysterious, which should yield a healthy showing if and when this makes it to the big screen.


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