Craig Johnson to Direct Baseball Movie “The Art of Fielding” for “Varsity Blues” Producer


Craig Johnson The Art of FieldingGetty Images

Fresh off directing the Woody Harrelson movie Wilson for Fox Searchlight, has signed on to direct for IMG and Mandalay Sports Media, which just entered into a joint venture that will see the two companies work together to develop, finance and produce a slate of sports-themed movies.

IMG-MSM are hoping to churn out at least 10 feature films over the next 3-5 years that will be distributed in theaters and via streaming platforms, and The Art of Fielding will be the first project under that deal.

Based on the bestselling novel by Chad Harbach and adapted by , The Art of Fielding follows college baseball star Henry Skrimshander, who seems destined to become a star in the big leagues. But when a routine throw misses its intended target, the fates of five people are upended. As the season winds down, these five individuals forge new bonds that will help them find their true paths in life.

MSM co-chairman Mike Tollin will produce alongside Carl Hampe and Catch and Release’s Tom Heller and Frank Hall Green, while Will Staeger and Mike Antinoro will executive produce for IMG Films along with Bill Holderman. Tollin has a long history producing sports-themed movies, including Varsity Blues, Coach Carter, Hardball and Summer Catch.

Johnson burst onto the scene with the poignant sibling dramedy The Skeleton Twins starring Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. He’s represented by .

Clancy, who is currently writing Hacker Camp for Hasbro, is repped by , Good Fear and attorney Gregg Gellman. Harbach was repped in the deal by on behalf of Chris Parris-Lamb at The Gernert Company.

IMG’s recent projects include the acclaimed documentary Gleason and Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next, while MSM’s new Liev Schreiber boxing movie Chuck hits theaters on May 5. MSM is also currently in production on two films for ESPN’s beloved 30 for 30 franchise.

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