Monday, August 1, 2011

Filmmaker Takes Another Crack at Bill "Spaceman" Lee

In 2002, Brett Rapkin made a documentary about Bill “Spaceman” Lee, the Boston Red Sox pitcher who was famously trade-dumped to the Montreal Expos at the end of 1978. Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey (released several years later) followed Lee and a seniors team from San Diego as they traveled to Cuba to take on a group of local island retirees.

Now, Rapkin has more ambitious Lee movie plans. He wants to make the loose biopic Have Glove, Will Travel, a $5 million production that will focus on what happened after Lee was allegedly blackballed by the Expos in 1982. Among the project advisers is Ron Shelton, of Bull Durham fame, and there's no doubt the part of Lee could be a choice one for the right actor.

Last week, Lee was in Montreal scouting locations for the planned 2012 shoot. He took time to revisit some of his old haunts with Montreal Gazette reporter Stephanie Myles, who has posted some video to go along with her recent article:

Riding with the Spaceman from Stephanie Myles on Vimeo.

The audio in the above video is a little ragged, but if you love the Spaceman, it's definitely worth watching. Among the more memorable parts of the tour are Lee's recollections about playing in Olympic Stadium, a painful excuse for a baseball shrine.

For example, Lee attributes his great first season as an Expo in 1979 to the clubhouse sauna, where he would retreat during cold month games in between each inning. He liked to keep the sweat chamber humming at 200 degrees and camp out inside, in cleats and full uniform, until there were two outs at the top of each inning.

[Kickstarter: Have Glove, Will Travel]

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