According to Deadline, Paul Rudd has signed on to star in an adaptation of Nicholas Dawidoff’s bestselling non-fiction book The Catcher Was A Spy. Rudd will play Moe Berg, the eponymous catcher who was a spy, but that pun-like title doesn’t really capture just how crazy his life was. Berg graduated from Princeton, reportedly spoke several different languages (somewhere between seven and 12), and he spent 15 years as a professional baseball player—including four seasons with the Windy City’s all-time greatest sports franchise, the Chicago White Sox. The United States entered World War II a few years after his baseball career ended, and that’s when Berg got a job working as a spy for the Office Of Strategic Services (a predecessor of the CIA).
Various cinematic versions of Berg’s story have been in the works over the years, with Deadline saying that Warner Bros., HBO, and Miramax all tried and failed to get projects like this going in the past. With Rudd attached now, though, he’ll be able to give Berg that lovable goofball quality that is so endearing in Ivy League-educated baseball players who are also WWII spies.
The Catcher Was A Spy will be directed by The Sessions’ Ben Lewin from a script by Saving Private Ryan’s Robert Rodat, and it’s set to be in theaters in 2017.