It was about 6 years ago when we featured the short film, “Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No”, which was based on a colorful recording by former baseball pitcher Dock Ellis, describing how he pitched a no-hitter in 1970 while under the influence of LSD.
Ellis, for his part, became an anti-drug crusader before he passed in 2008.
In 2014, there was a feature-length documentary on the life of Dock Ellis and that legendary LSD-influenced no-hitter, titled “No No: A Dockumentary,” directed by Jeffrey Radice, which made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and would later open in a limited theatrical release in the USA. It’s available on various home video platforms currently.
And now, a scripted featured film on Ellis’ life is in development. David Permut (“Hacksaw Ridge” producer), via his Permut Presentations shingle, is prepping a biopic on Ellis, based on Joey Poach’s spec script “Dock”; Dock Ellis’ son, Dock Ellis III, is serving as a consultant on the project.
“I think Dock’s story is an inspiring and timely one that deserves to be told now more than ever,” Permut said in a previous statement when the project was first announced last fall. “The character of Dock is sure to attract a major star and filmmaker.”
Well he may not yet be a “major star” but Deadline is reporting today that O’Shea Jackson, Jr. (“Straight Outta Compton”) has signed up to play Dock Ellis in the film, and his father, Ice Cube, on board to produce from.
There is no director attached to the project at this time, but a search is underway.
“Joey Poach’s script is one of the most heartfelt, honest and emotional pieces of material I’ve read in years, and I think the complexities of the character are a perfect fit for O’Shea,” said producer David Permut.
I can’t say how perfect a fit the role will be for Jackson, Jr.; but what I can say is that it will certainly be far more meatier and challenging than the role he played in “Straight Outta Compton.” It might be the kind of role that draws awards season attention, especially given that it’s from the producer of “Hacksaw Ridge.”
On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 136 years of baseball history, only 276 no-hitters have been recorded. Dock is the only pitcher to ever claim he accomplished his while high on LSD. During his 12 years in the major leagues, Dock lived the expression “Black is Beautiful!” He wore curlers on the field. He stepped out of his Cadillac wearing the widest bell bottoms and the broadest collars. But when he put on his uniform, he was one of the most intimidating pitchers of the 1970s. He was often at the forefront of controversy and has been called the “Muhammad Ali of Baseball.” He was an outspoken leader of a new wave of civil rights in sports, when black athletes were no longer content to accept second-class treatment or keep their mouths shut about indignities. For this, the press labeled him a militant.
But that’s only half the story…
For the rest of the story, you can either check out “No No: A Dockumentary,” the 2014 non-fiction film on Ellis, which you can find on home video; or wait for the scripted fictionalized account of his life in David Permut’s feature film, starring O’Shea Jackson, Jr. Although no ETA at this time.
Who would you cast to play Dock Ellis?
Watch a trailer for the 2014 “No No” documentary below: