George Clooney and Grant Heslo will write and produce an adaptation of John Grisham’s baseball novel “Calico Joe,” with Clooney also attached to direct; Bob Dylan will also produce the film alongside Clooney and Heslov.
Clooney and Heslov will produce “Calico Joe” as a feature film adaptation through their Smokehouse Pictures banner alongside Dylan’s Grey Water Park Productions.
“Calico Joe” is based on Grisham’s 2012 fiction novel set in the summer of 1973 about a star rookie baseball player for the Chicago Cubs whose life is changed when he’s hit by a near fatal pitch by an opposing New York Mets player. The book focuses on the Cubs batter and the effects of the pitch 30 years later through the eyes of the pitcher’s son. It’s described as a moving story of fathers and sons, forgiveness and redemption, all set in the world of Major League Baseball.
The script is being developed and financed by ZQ Entertainment, which is newly launching from former CAA agent and producer Ara Keshishian (“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” “Worth”) and from a multi-million dollar financing and development fund managed by Petr Jakl and represented by attorney Martin J. Barab. The fund will focus on the development of high-end film and television, with the goal of developing 15 projects per year. Jakl, Keshishian, and Barab will all executive produce “Calico Joe.”
“John has written a beautiful story and the chance to collaborate with Bob to bring it to the screen is just fantastic,” Clooney and Heslov in a joint statement.
“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 relate to it, ” Dylan added.
“In this climate, with the ever-evolving distribution landscape and different ways to reach audiences, we feel this is the perfect time to focus on development with the best storytellers. The caliber of talent involved, and quality of John Grisham’s amazing book is the exact type of content we are looking to develop and produce. Smokehouse’s track record speaks for itself and we look forward to working with them and the legendary Bob Dylan to bring this story to life,” Keshishian and Jakl said in a joint statement.
Clooney and Heslov’s Smokehouse is the production company “The Midnight Sky,” an upcoming feature for Netflix in which Clooney also stars and directs.
Dylan recently joined as an executive producer on a biopic being made on his life that stars Timotheé Chalamet as Dylan in a film directed by James Mangold at Searchlight Pictures. Beyond that in the film space, Dylan is known for his film “Reinaldo and Clara” from 1978.
Smokehouse and Dylan are represented by CAA, and Grisham by The Gernert Company. CAA Media Finance negotiated the deal on behalf of Smokehouse, Grey Water, and ZQ Entertainment. Attorney Martin J. Barab brokered the deal on behalf of the fund.