EXCLUSIVE: Actors Ben McKenzie and Logan Marshall-Green have joined forces to launch the shingle A Thing Or Two Productions. They come to the table in a big way. Tom Rothman’s TriStar Pictures has made a deal on a baseball memoir which the duo will produce with Michael De Luca. TriStar has optioned Wherever I Wind Up, the memoir by pitcher R.A. Dickey about his unusual life journey. Buzz Bissinger has been set to write the script. It becomes another eclectic project for Rothman’s upstart division.
McKenzie first starred on Fox’s The O.C. and now is playing the lead role of Detective Jim Gordon in the Bat-prequel series Gotham, while Marshall-Green played his brother on O.C. and has co-starred in Brooklyn’s Finest, Prometheus and As I Lay Dying. He just shot the pilot Quarry. They have been friends since doing theater together at Williamstown in 2001 and talked about partnering in a production company. It all crystallized when both sparked to Dickey’s memoir. Neither is looking to play the pitcher in the feature.
An Academic All-American at the University of Tennessee and an English lit major, Dickey didn’t write the usual jock story. His memoir was critically acclaimed as he told a tale of overcoming adversity that included being molested as an 8-year old and nearly losing his dream of becoming a pro pitcher. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers and offered a huge signing bonus, only to see the latter get taken away when the team discovered that Dickey was missing an important ligament in his pitching elbow. Undaunted, Dickey knocked around with a bunch of teams as he slowly harnessed an ability to throw the knuckleball, a pitch that fools batters because they have no idea (nor does his catcher) where the ball is going to go.
The memoir was released while Dickey pitched for the New York Mets, where in 2012 he was almost unhittable, winning 20 games, pitching in the All-Star Game, struck out 230 batters and became the first knuckleballer to be named the National League’s premier pitcher when he was voted Cy Young Award winner. Most unusual was that he hit his prime in his late thirties. He now pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dickey was already entertaining bids for screen rights to his book when Marshall-Green and McKenzie flew to Nashville to sit with him. Their enthusiasm prompted the pitcher to entrust them with the rights, and they used their own money for the option. McKenzie, a former high school football player in Texas, was understandably enamored of Friday Night Lights author Bissinger, and enlisted him to write the script.
Dickey was repped in the deal by ICM Partners. Both McKenzie and Marshall-Green are repped by CAA, while McKenzie is managed by Management 360 and lawyered by PJ Shapiro and Marshall-Green is managed by 3 arts and lawyered by Rick Genow. Bissinger is repped by WME.