?HUSTLE AND BUSTLE
ESPN will produce two biopics this year. Hustle, the story of Pete Rose, will debut on Sept. 25. Most of the film takes place from 1986 to '89, when the only playing Rose did was with bookies. "I guess you can say There's a lot of baseball when you look at the betting slips, but in terms of baseball action, no," says ESPN senior vice president of original entertainment Ron Semiao. The role of Charlie Hustle has yet to be cast, but the network already has a star in place for its other movie project: Barry Pepper, who played Roger Maris in HBO's 61*, will play Dale Earnhardt in 3, which debuts on Dec. 11. "When we approached Barry, we found out that he was a huge NASCAR fan," says Semiao. "Getting the opportunity to play a legend really interested him."
More than two years after Barry Bonds hit his record 73rd home run comes Up for Grabs, a documentary premiering at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, on March 14. The film follows the fate of the ball from the moment it landed in the arcade area of Pac Bell, where Alex Popov claimed he caught it and had it ripped away by Patrick Hayashi. Popov, 37, took Hayashi, 36, to court, and the movie's trial footage displays the absurd comic qualities of a Christopher Guest film. In one scene witnesses try to reenact what happened using Popov's glove. But the film also is a lesson in human frailty. While Popov at first seems the victim, he morphs into a selfish attention-seeker who refuses Hayashi's offer to split ownership of the ball. When the judge orders what amounts to joint custody, an auction brings a mere $450,000. It's far less than the millions Popov had expected and leaves him thousands of dollars in debt. In some ways, it's the ending you want.