EXCLUSIVE: Fox has set Peter Chelsom to direct The Boy Who Knew Too Much, an adaptation of the memoir Cathy Byrd wrote about her son. From about the age of 2, Christian Haupt began an obsession with baseball, insisting on wearing a baseball uniform and talking about his experiences of being a pro ballplayer in the 1920s and ’30s, only to have his career cut short and dying soon after. The youth, who’s considered a baseball prodigy, convinced his family that in that former life he was Hall of Fame New York Yankees slugging first baseman Lou Gehrig. DeVon Franklin is producing the film.
Byrd, a residential real estate broker whose family had no association with baseball, was moved to write a book that was published by Hay House in May 2017. It was picked up by the studio and Franklin, the producer and preacher who has generated such faith-based hits as Heaven Is For Real and Miracles From Heaven. They, and Chelsom, sparked to the inspiring story of a young man who began an uncanny recitation of baseball stories from another life — tales he had no business knowing at such a young age. He is a lefty pitcher, obsessed with baseball, and his diamond exploits have been well chronicled on YouTube, where, among other things, he became the youngest person to throw out a first pitch at Dodger Stadium. After his mother put a tape of Christian’s highlights online, Adam Sandler gave him a baseball playing cameo in his 2012 film That’s My Boy.
“There have been skeptics, but there are also irrefutable truths that became impossible to ignore,” said Chelsom. He said that when Gehrig delivered his “Luckiest Man Alive” speech, he hadn’t been told he was dying, and there were unresolved issues that will be worked into the family film narrative. The UK-born Chelsom didn’t grow up steeped in baseball, but his co-writer Tinker Lindsay is a rabid fan. They are working together again after adapting The Mirror Thief.
Their hope is to be ready to shoot in the fall, and they will soon begin the search for a baseball capable young actor to play Christian.
Chelsom is repped by UTA and attorney Craig Emanuel.