James Franco to Direct Film Adaptation of ‘Inside the World of ESPN’

James Franco is in talks to direct a film adaptation of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. The book, written by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller, chronicles the rise of the major sports network through interviews with over five hundred athletes, announcers, and more.


Christopher C. Rogers, co-creator of Halt and Catch Fire, will be rewriting the script. The film will focus on Bill Rasmussen’s work to launch the 24/7 sports network with his son in 1979, as they nearly went bankrupt in the process.


The book has been described as a ‘gossipy oral-history’ of the sports network as Shales and Miller interviewed hundreds of big personalities associated with the network. 


The film has been in talks of being adapted since 2011 when it was initially acquired by 20th Century Fox. When it was acquired by Focus Features in 2015, author James Andrew Miller announced that he would be coming on board as screenwriter. He stated that the film would be a ‘corporate biopic of ESPN, similar in mindset and approach to The Social Network’ as reported by Deadline.com.


Image Via Variety

Image Via Variety


Although it may seem like an unlikely choice, Franco’s recent interest in directing the film stems from his need to make films that interest him, as he stated in an interview, “I had been in the ‘Spider-Man’ films, some of the biggest blockbusters ever, but also ‘Milk’, which had won Oscars . . . Now I want to do movies that nobody else is going to make, regardless of the box-office potential.”


He recently directed and produced The Disaster Artist, which tells the story of the infamous independent artist Tommy Wiseau. He is not expected to appear in the film adaptation.