A sequel to “Bull Durham,” the 1988 movie that helped jump-start the popularity of minor league baseball, is in the works, and the producer of the sequel said Tuesday he hopes to be filming in Durham sometime in late spring.
Thom Mount, the Durham native who produced the 1988 film, said a script is in development, and that he would like to start shooting sometime between April and June 2009.
“We intend to shoot in the new Durham Bulls Athletic Park,” Mount said, who added that he had spoken to Jim Goodmon, president of Capitol Broadcasting, owner of the Bulls, who had agreed to help him film in the park. Mount was not sure if he would use the historic Durham Athletic Park, which figured so prominently in “Bull Durham.”
Ron Shelton, who directed “Bull Durham,” will write the script and direct the sequel, Mount said.
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The New York Post reported Tuesday in its Page Six online column that a “Bull Durham” sequel was in the works. The Post reported that Kevin Costner, who played Crash Davis, met with director Ron Shelton to discuss the sequel. According to the Post, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were expected to return in their roles as pitcher Nuke LaLoosh and team groupie Annie Savoy. In the new film, those characters are married and own a baseball team that Davis manages.
Mount said because a screenplay is still in the works, he has received no commitments from actors.
“It's correctly described as a development project at the moment,” he said. “We would like all of those people to be in it, but they're not committed at the moment.”
Shelton contradicted the Post article, saying it had been about a year since he had last seen Costner, and that there was no script.
Shelly Green, chief operating officer of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, which gave a commemorative luncheon in April marking the 20th anniversary of “Bull Durham,” said the bureau will help the filmmakers get needed permits, and help with lodging, catering and other logistics.
“A city could not ask for any better recognition than to have your name in the movie,” Green said. And to have Shelton and Mount doing the script and overseeing the project is “pure gold.”
George Habel, vice president of the Bulls, said the idea of a sequel was discussed about a year ago, but that nothing had been mentioned since then. He added that he was delighted to hear that Shelton would be writing the script.
“If Shelton's involved, I think they have a shot at producing another classic,” Habel said. “‘Bull Durham' wasn't just a great movie … that was a great script, that was a great screenplay. So if anybody was going to do it again, I'd put my money on Ron Shelton.”
Talk of a sequel has been in the air this year because of various anniversary events. Besides the tribute luncheon, in April the city also broke ground on a $5 million renovation of historic Durham Athletic Park.
Mount and Shelton both participated in the groundbreaking. “We were both reminded of how much we liked the place and how good Durham was to both of us, so we were excited about coming back,” Mount said.
In July, Costner and his band Modern West performed at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. During that concert, Costner said he would not be against doing a sequel as long as the script was top notch.