May 1, 2016

Tradecraft: Paul Rudd to Play Moe Berg

Variety reports that Paul Rudd (Captain America: Civil War) will play the legendary baseball player/spy (more legendary as the former than the latter) Moe Berg in The Catcher Was a Spy for Palmstar Media. Since it has the same title, I'm assuming this film will be based on Nicholas Davidoff's 1995 book, and I honestly can't believe it's taken so long for that to make it to the screen. There have been many books on Berg, however (ESPN calls him "the only utility player to be the subject of three biographies"), so it's possible that the movie has other source material. Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) wrote the screenplay and Ben Lewin (The Sessions) will direct.

Berg was perhaps the ultimate Renaissance man. With degrees from Princeton and Columbia Law (as well as studying at the Sorbonne), he was a polyglot and an athlete. During a fifteen-year career in the major league he bounced around between multiple teams including the Chicago White Sox, the Washington Senators and the Boston Red Sox. An undistinguished record didn't stop him from accompanying the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to Japan in the years before WWII, where he covertly photographed Tokyo for the U.S. government, taking films that were supposedly used in planning the Doolittle raid. He went on to serve in the OSS and the CIA, taking on numerous perilous wartime assignments.

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