George Clooney Returning To The Director’s Chair With John Grisham’s ‘Calico Joe’

Multi-time Golden Globe and Oscar-winning actor George Clooney is set to return to the director’s chair once again. According to Variety‘s Dave McNary, the 59-year-old has officially been tapped to helm the big-screen adaptation of author John Grisham’s acclaimed 2012 baseball novel Calico Joe.

Per the report, Clooney will be developing the project alongside Grant Heslov, with whom he teamed up with to bring Good Night, and Good Luck to audiences in 2005. That film netted Clooney a Best Director Oscar nomination, while Heslov was the recipient of a Best Picture nomination as the producer of the film, which he also co-wrote with Clooney. More recently, the pair received Best Picture statuettes for producing the Ben Affleck-directed historical thriller Argo in 2012.

They’ll produce Calico Joe under their Smokehouse Pictures banner along with Bob Dylan’s Grey Water Park Productions.

“John has written a beautiful story and the chance to collaborate with Bob to bring it to the screen is just fantastic,” said Clooney and Heslov in a joint statement.

For his part, Dylan also expressed enthusiasm for their collaboration on the film.

“George and Grant see in this book what I see in it – a powerful story that will resonate with young and old alike. People in all walks of life will be able to relate to it.”

Calico Joe was inspired by the true story of Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman, who in 1920 became the first (and only) Major League Baseball player to die as a result of being hit by a pitch. In Grisham’s novel, a fictional big-leaguer named “Calico Joe” Castle is in the midst of an incredible rookie campaign with the Chicago Cubs when he is intentionally hit by a pitch thrown by Warren Tracey of the New York Mets in 1973. As a result, he goes into a prolonged coma and suffers a stroke, after which he becomes incapacitated for life.

Thirty years later, Tracey’s son, Paul — a fan of Castle as a child who later became estranged from his abusive father — arranges a meeting between the two men when the elder Tracey is facing death due to pancreatic cancer.

The book debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times‘ Best-Sellers list in April of 2012.

Script development for the cinematic adaptation of the novel is being financed by ZQ Entertainment, a newly launched production company from former CAA agent and producer Ara Keshishian, as well as a development fund managed by Petr Jakl and represented by attorney Martin J. Barab.

As reported by The Inquisitr last week, Clooney also made an appearance recently in a Season 3 trailer for The Conners.

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