Carrey and Gyllenhaal ready to play ball in ‘Yankees’

02.27.09 9 years ago

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Are you ready for some singing and dancing with your baseball?  New Line is hoping you are.  According to Variety, the Warner Bros. divison has drafted Jake Gyllenhaal and Jim Carrey to star in a new version of the classic musical “Damn Yankees.”

Based on the 1955 Tony Award winner, “Yankees” centers on Joe Boyd, a middle aged man whose devotion to his favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees, prompts him to make a deal with the devil to improve the team.  In exchange for his soul, the devil turns him into star slugger Joe Hardy.  Boyd can break the deal, but will he do it before the deadline in the middle of the World Series?  To convince him to keep the bargain, the devil recruits a beautiful, but tragic lost soul, Lola, to seduce the hitter and seal his fate.

As it stands now, Carrey would play the devil (improv!) and the athletically inclined Gyllenhaal would play Boyd.

The musical first made it to the big screen in a 1958 Warner Bros. picture starring Tab Hunter, Ray Walston and Gwen Verdon.

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the men behind “Hairspray” and its upcoming sequel, originally set the remake up at Miramax five years ago.  When Harvey Weinstein left the company, the rights lapsed and two years after rights negotiations, “Yankees” is finally moving forward at New Line. 

Without a director and finished script at the moment at the moment, one has to wonder how long Gyllenhaal and Carrey will commit to the project considering their busy schedules.  Zadan and Meron spent 15 years developing “The Life and Times of Harvey Milk” only to see Gus Van Sant and Dustin Lance Black to go from announcing a competing project, “Milk,” to two Oscars wins within 16 months.

Carrey solidified his hit-making credentials with the $216 million worldwide grosser “Yes Man.”  He also received strong reviews for his role in the Sundance Film Festival entry “I Love You Phillip Morris.”  He’ll be seen later this year as the iconic Ebenezer Scrooge (and a few other characters) in Robert Zemeckis’ 3D animated “A Christmas Carol.”

After shooting David O. Russell’s troubled comedy “Nailed” and Jim Sheridan’s potential Cannes Film Festival entry “Brothers,” Jake Gyllenhall recently finished production on the potential Jerry Bruckheimer franchise “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.”

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