By Jack Rico
Puerto Rican actor John Ortiz, who can currently be seen in David O. Russell’s Oscar buzz film ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and who is known for his roles in ‘Miami Vice’ and ‘Fast and Furious,’ exclusively told ShowBizCafe.com that he is in the early stages of developing an Ozzie Guillen biopic baseball movie in the form of ‘Moneyball’. Guillen, the former Chicago White Sox manager who managed the team between 2004 to 2011, is considered one of the most controversial managers in recent baseball history.
When we asked Ortiz if he was interested in directing anytime soon, he revealed he was working on a baseball movie:
“Ozzie Guillen and I are going to meet when I’m in Chicago. I don’t want to make a straight up baseball movie, but something along the lines of “Moneyball”. It’d be a lot more than just 9 guys on the baseball diamond. I want to do something where we focus on the profession of him being a baseball manager, how complex of a man he is, the culture, immigration, Chicago, Miami, [Fidel] Castro, there is so much there. I’m fascinated with him, I think he’s such a charismatic dude and people seem to love him or hate him. So I think he’d be a great subject for a movie.”
Ortiz, who plays Ronnie, a stressed-out married man in ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ is still unclear whether he will direct, produce or star in the film. It could be one of them or all of them, but he says he will have a better sense of his role in the movie as the project gets closer to pre-production. Ortiz would be perfect for the Guillen role since they have a similar look and Ortiz possesses the acting pedigree from the theater to give the character weight and credibility.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ozzie Guillen, he is a well-known Venezuelan baseball player since his days as a top flight shortstop for the Chicago White Sox back in the 80’s and 90’s. But later in his career, he became a controversial and larger-than-life personality as the manager for the same team he played for, including the Miami Marlins earlier this year. Amongst his polemic on various issues, he called a Chicago Sun-Times columnist a homosexual slur, said Asian players are treated better than Latino players, and was quoted as loving Communist dictator Fidel Castro, which infuriated Cubans residing in Miami. Despite his quarrels with the press, Guillen is an accomplished baseball mind. In 2005, he became the first Latino manager in major league history to win a World Series.
Ortiz made his film debut as Al Pacino’s young cousin ‘Guajiro’ in Carlito’s Way. He went on to appear in over 30 films including Pride and Glory, El Cantante, American Gangster, Before Night Falls, Amistad, Ransom, and Narc.
What other Latino baseball player do you guys think should have a movie based on their lives? Our money is on the Yankee’s Alex Rodriguez and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson should play him. Leave us your comments below.