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Jason Bateman to Direct and Star in Netflix Limited Series About Feuding Baseball Dads and the Dark Side of Youth Sports

Hot off the acclaimed series Ozark, Jason Bateman is heading back to Netflix, as he’s set to both direct and star in an eight-episode limited series that will explore the dark underbelly of youth sports through the lens of two baseball dads and the scary lengths they were willing to go for their sons.

Deadline broke the news, reporting that the project is based on a 2021 Esquire magazine article titled Daddy Ball from writer David Gauvey Herbert. There were eight offers on the table for the article, but Netflix and Bateman’s Aggregate Films banner won a bidding war for the rights, though the dark comedy series will be released with a different name.

Herbert has been in the middle of such high-stakes situations before, as he has several projects in development around town, including The Ballad of Ron & Dorinda at MRC with Jessie Nickson-Lopez adapting; Boss of the Beach at FX and Searchlight TV with Darren Aronofsky producing; and Camp Shane at ABC Signature with Josh Gad producing.

This one chronicles the rivalry between Bobby Sanfilippo and John Reardon — two dads whose sons played travel baseball together on the Long Island Inferno. Both men had rap sheets and complicated pasts when their beef began, and they both took it too far, with claims of stalking, threatening texts, corrupt cops, and even an unwarranted arrest based on false allegations. In the end, neither man — nor their families — was ever the same following the summer of 2012. One of them was even called “a Suffolk County Steinbrenner” by the tabloids.

The series is envisioned as a dark comedy — like Netflix’s Beef, but with more dangerous leads, I’d imagine — and based on Horrible Bosses and his foul-mouthed turn in his own feature directorial debut Bad Words, I’d say that Bateman is well-suited for this material. In addition to directing and starring, he’ll also executive produce the untitled series with his Aggregate partners Michael Costigan and Roxie Rodriguez, while David Klawans will also be involved as a producer.

Bateman recently played Nike marketing executive Rob Strasser in Ben Affleck‘s well-reviewed drama Air, and he and Aggregate are represented by CAA and Lighthouse Management + Media.

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