A feature film on the life of baseball player Dock Ellis is currently in development.
In a report from Variety producer David Permut is prepping a biopic on Ellis, based on Joey Poach‘s spec script Dock. Dock Ellis’ son, Dock Ellis III, has been brought on board as a consultant.
“I think Dock’s story is an inspiring and timely one that deserves to be told now more than ever,” Permut told Variety. “The character of Dock is sure to attract a major star and filmmaker.”
Ellis’ story is one worth being told. The late Major League Baseball pitcher played in the major leagues for 12 years, nine of which were with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was also an outspoken advocate for African American players, often called the “Muhammad Ali Of Baseball.” This, along with his eccentric persona (wearing curlers on the field; wearing colorful bell bottoms), led to the press labeling him a militant.
He gained notoriety after he retired in 1979, by disclosing that he had pitched a no hitter in 1970 while being under the influence of acid. He also admitted that he had never pitched a game sober, and ultimately sought treatment for his alcohol and drug addiction.
Following that Ellis dedicated the rest of his life to counseling people suffering from substance abuse problems, focusing on counseling professional athletes before dying of a liver ailment in 2008 at the age of 63.
Prior to this forthcoming biopic, the only film portrayals of Ellis that have been created were No No: Dockumentary and Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No. The former was a feature length documentary, which made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. The latter was a short colorful film, where Ellis’ recounting of the no hitter is accompanied by animation that brings the incredible story to life.
Hopefully more information about this biopic will drop soon.