What a difference three months can make.
When the MLB regular season started in July, Randy Arozarena was a relatively unknown rookie outfielder whom the Tampa Bay Rays had acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in a trade that cost them top pitching Matthew Liberatore.
Now, on the heels of a historic postseason breakout that felt like a Hollywood story come to life, Arozarena is about to become the subject of an actual Hollywood story.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Wonderfilm Media has announced plans to produce a biopic based around Arozarena’s life and his journey from Cuba to Major League Baseball. Filming is scheduled to begin following the 2021 season, with a theatrical release expected in fall 2022 or spring 2023.
Here’s more detail, courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times:
The full-length feature will focus on Arozarena’s escape from Cuba and his journey to the major leagues, leading up to his stunning postseason success, said Wonderfilm co-founder Bret Saxon, who framed it as “an amazing story” of “human spirit and how it triumphs.”
The report also notes that Arozarena’s agent, Abel Guerra, started pitching the idea to Hollywood executives even before the 2020 season began. Arozarena’s defection from Cuba to Mexico in 2015 is well-documented in baseball circles, but Guerra felt it was an inspirational story that would have a much wider appeal.
Wonderfilm co-founder Bret Saxon agreed, adding that “Randy’s story is so inspirational — his journey grabs at your heart and this film will explore the triumphs of the human spirit when driven and focused.”
Arozarena’s historic postseason, in which he produced a record 11 home runs and 29 hits, made him a household name almost overnight.
It also made it a very easy decision to move forward with the project.
“We were looking for something that was broader than an on-field story, that was more about the human aspirational aspect of it,” Saxon said Friday. “We really liked the story. We’d been talking about it, we’d been talking to writers about it, we’d been doing some internal development trying to figure out what this might look like. And then when he started blowing up in the playoffs, we were like, ‘Wow, Abel was right.’ So we were pretty excited about it.”
The only thing that would have made Arozarena’s story better was a Rays World Series win. Then again, the best stories aren’t always those with a perfect ending.
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