Derek Cianfrance to Bring Story of ESPN to Big Screen

By September 25, 2013


Let’s just hope it’s less wrenching than Blue Valentine. The Wrap reports that indie director Derek Cianfrance (who is approaching true “breakthrough” status with each film) has signed on to make a new film with the Focus Features team that produced his The Place Beyond the Pines this year, and it sounds just a smidge lighter than the stuff we’re used to seeing from the helmer.

The project is still an intriguing one, however, and one ripe for a big cinematic telling. Cianfrance’s new film will center on the formation and rise of the ESPN network and will be based on James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales’ massive oral history “ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun.” The book “chronicles the cable network’s rise to power using the voices of past and present ESPN personalities and producers, including Bill Simmons, Chris Berman and Keith Olbermann,” which sounds like something that could be appealing to both sports fans and moviegoers simply interested in seeing a modern epic tale that features people they actually recognize.


A film adaptation of the book has been in the works for years now, with 20th Century Fox first buying the rights to it back in July of 2011 and subsequently putting the project in “turnaround” (basically meaning they bought that baby up for sale). Focus swooped in and grabbed it, and now it seems pleased to give it to their Pines director. We’re pleased, too, Focus. Here’s to hoping there’s a role for Ryan Gosling.

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss,, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.