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Separated at birth?


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Hoosiers. Coach Carter. The Bad News Bears. Hollywood has a rich history of classics on its list of coach flicks, and film fans may soon be able to add Tony La Russa’s story to that list.

La Russa’s biography, Three Nights in August, has been optioned for film development by actor Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects). Three Nights in August, a New York Times best-seller in 2005, tells the story of La Russa’s 20-plus years in baseball, as well as his involvement cofounding Walnut Creek’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). We asked some of the key players in La Russa’s life who should play him in the movie.

ARF executive director Elena Bicker: “George Clooney! He’d be in the right age range, and he once tried out for the Cincinnati Reds when he was younger. Definitely George Clooney!

”Three Nights in August author Buzz Bissinger: “Ray Liotta. He’s a great actor; he has a smoldering intensity. He would look just right standing in the corner of the dugout looking like a nuclear reactor about to go off. But he can portray warmth as well.

”Phantom of the Opera singer Franc D’Ambrosio (performer at ARF’s Stars to the Rescue concerts): “I have to go with Al Pacino because I got to act with him in Godfather III. Al would be great. But if it were a musical, I could play [Tony] and sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”!

Tony La Russa: “First three choices: Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx. Whoever it is has to love the game of baseball. Kurt Russell, who played the hockey coach in Miracle, played some minor league ball. And Billy Bob Thornton (Friday Night Lights) would be good; he tried out for the Kansas City Royals. I just met Billy Bob, and he’s a huge St. Louis fan. He’s going to be in the 2007 ARF calendar wearing a Cardinals jersey.”

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