ESPN is currently filming an 8-part TV movie version of Jonathan Mahler's hugely entertaining book, "The Bronx is Burning." Since ESPN has yet to make a credible movie, count me skeptical that this will be any different, even though gifted actors like John Turturro and Oliver Platt are featured in this one (imagine, Turturro playing both Billy Martin and Howard Cosell during his career, that's some kind of feat). Roger Catlin, TV critic for the Hartford Courant, dropped by the film set a few days ago. Check out his write-up. The biggest sign of trouble?
The screenplay was vetted with Major League Baseball to avoid the kind of confrontation that led ESPN's critically lauded series "Playmakers" to be canceled over objections by the NFL.
"One thing we were cognizant of was our relationship with our very valued partners," Semiao says. But there's nothing in "The Bronx Is Burning" that is injurious to baseball, all agreed.
Who wants to see a sanitized version of the Bronx Zoo? That's like watching "Good Fellas" on broadcast TV. But we are talking about a Disney movie, after all. Who knows, maybe we'll be surprised.