George Clooney is continuing his new trend of adapting novels by widely-read writers. Having already adapted Joseph Heller‘s satirical war novel Catch-22 into a mini-series for Hulu, Clooney will now adapt John Grisham‘s baseball novel Calico Joe into a film.
Grisham’s book focuses on Joe Castle, a rising rookie superstar in the baseball world known for his overall pleasant demeanour. This particularly irks Warren Tracey, a hard-living, not-so-pleasant New York Mets pitcher whose son idolises Castle more than him. So when Warren finally faces Joe on the mound, he throws a pitch that changes both of their lives forever, for better and for worse.
Clooney will direct the adaptation, and also produce alongside regular collaborator Grant Heslov and…Bob Dylan? Yes, really. Dylan is producing via his Grey Water Park Productions. Clooney and Heslov said of the project: “John has written a beautiful story and the chance to collaborate with Bob to bring it to the screen is just fantastic”.
Grisham is no stranger to having his work adapted by Hollywood, but usually they’ve been in the realm of legal thrillers. He wrote The Firm, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury and The Pelican Brief just to name a few, all of which and more were adapted into slick Hollywood productions. Grisham adaptations were once a very strong business.
Calico Joe is obviously quite different from the usual Grisham fare, but it sounds like an interesting story. There’s currently no word on whether Clooney will also take an on-camera role. He seems like a good fit for Warren Tracey, but one imagines if he was going to take that role, it would have been announced at the same time as his involvement as a director and producer.
So if Clooney isn’t acting as well, the two lead roles are up for grabs, and it will be interesting to see who snags them. Much like Grisham adaptations, movies about baseball used to be a lot more frequent in decades past. We’ll see if Clooney can bring back some of the magic of films like The Natural and Eight Men Out.
Don’t want to wait for more Clooney? No problem. He’s got a Netflix sci-fi drama titled The Midnight Sky arriving sometime in December.