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Yasiel Puig’s 23 years of life have been busy. It's been a life of extremes, to say the least. He went from Cuban regime victim, to cartel hostage, to free citizen, to MLB star — and now he will be immortalized by Hollywood.
Director and producer Brett Ratner, from RatPac Entertainment, announced last week that he has closed a deal to take the ballplayer’s amazing escape from the Communist island to the big screen.
Ratner, whose mother is Cuban, has bought the rights to an article about Puig published last month in Los Angeles Magazine. Jesse Katz’s “Escape From Cuba: Yasiel Puig's Untold Journey to the Dodgers,” will be co-produced by Beau Flynn, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Puig, who never commented about his alleged escape after the magazine article was published, has not said whether he will cooperate with the film.
Katz's story detailed Puig’s attempts to escape from Cuba — one stalled out when the ship failed to show, another time the boat he was on got stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard. Finally, in June 2012, Puig got onboard a vessel with a crew allegedly connected to the Zetas drug cartel. Katz tells how Puig and others ended up somewhere in Mexico and were held by Zetas-backed gangsters for 20 days.
Freedom came when “fixers” hired by an alleged associate and a group of Florida businessmen rescued Puig and the other captives. They were whisked away to Mexico City where Puig was put on display for baseball scouts.
Today, Puig is an MLB superstar, with a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He made his MLB debut on June 3, 2013. In 2013, Puig hit .319 in 104 games with 19 home runs, and was selected by Baseball America to their annual "All-Rookie team".
In a Fox Sports podcast this week, Katz, the writer who broke the story, said he spent five months researching and investigating the case.
“I’ve been in journalism for practically 30 years and I’ve done a lot of stories that I’ve cared deeply about and some I thought were pretty special," he said when inquired about the viral reception of his feature. "But I’ve never had a story like this Yasiel Puig piece that has just taken off in every possible direction,” he went on.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Ratner and his production company are still looking for writers for the script and haven’t yet released a production date.