Los Angeles—In a casting coup, Paramount confirmed that Brad Pitt, star of “Thelma and Louise” and “True Romance,” will star in next year’s film adaptation of “Table Tennis Tales and Techniques.”
The book, published in 2009, is described on Barry Haywards’ Table Tennis Bibliography as “a compilation of various yarns, stories, tips and quotes from the pen of one of the top US coaches. An interesting read and some sound advice.”
Pitt will play the book’s author, top US table tennis coach Larry Hodges, and show the story of Hodges teaching a headstrong new table tennis phenom, played by Michael Cera. He convinces Cera’s character that he can successfully put together a table tennis club on a budget by employing computer-generated analysis to draft his players.
The book was adapted for the screen by Mark Boal after Paramount purchased the rights to the book for a reported $3.75 million.
Against the wishes of Hodges, who will serve as technical adviser and executive producer, a subplot was inserted into the film adaptation about a love story between Pitt and his estranged ex-wife, who will reportedly be played by Mila Kunis.
“Table Tennis Tales and Techniques” took the table tennis world by storm when it was published, as it told the story of how Hodges strove to buck the system and go completely against the way ping-pong had been taught for generations. But this maverick was successful, and now his methods are used by nearly every single ping-pong program in the United States.
Thought for months that the story was ill-suited for the bigscreen, the rights nearly were given up on by Paramount as it languished in “development hell” until Pitt signed on, at the suggestion of his pal, George Clooney. Clooney at first sought to direct the film himself, but his schedule did not permit it, as he was already committed to directing Denzel Washington in the remake of “Melvin and Howard.”