2004 Season

Pepper fuels ESPN crew's 'Earnhardt'
By Andrew Wallenstein / Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (February 25, 2004)
Barry PepperBarry Pepper is in the driver's seat for the upcoming ESPN original film "3: The Dale Earnhardt Story," which he will star in and co-executive produce.

The network has confirmed that Pepper will portray the biopic's title character, who died in a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500. Production will begin in the summer in Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta. Originally scheduled to air in late summer, "Earnhardt" has been pushed back to December.

"Earnhardt" is part of ESPN's renewed effort to ramp up production on its original films.

The network also said Tuesday that it has given the go-ahead to the Pete Rose biopic "Hustle," which chronicles the baseball great's gambling controversy. With production set for the spring, "Hustle" will premiere Sept. 25.

Other ESPN original films in development include "Four," about Roger Bannister, the first man to run the mile in under four minutes; "October Men," an adaptation of a book about the 1977-78 New York Yankees; and "Whistleblower," based on the life of NBA referee Bob Delaney.

This will be Pepper's second time stint depicting a sports legend for a cable original movie. He starred as New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris in the 2001 HBO film "61*."



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