O’Shea Jackson Jr. Cast as Baseball Legend Dock Ellis in New Biopic

By Sameer Rao Jun 13, 2017

Pittsburgh Pirates player Dock Ellis wrote himself into Major League Baseball history on June 12, 1970, by pitching a no-hitter (a game in which the opposing team doesn’t hit the ball) against the San Diego Padres. He further solidified his legend by admitting over a decade later that he played that game while under the influence of lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD. Deadline addressed the 47th anniversary of that game yesterday (June 12) with the announcement of a new biopic, "Dock," starring O’Shea Jackson Jr. in the lead role.

Jackson is attached to star as Ellis in a film co-produced by his father Ice Cube, whom he famously portrayed in "Straight Outta Compton." Joey Poach ("The End of the World") wrote the screenplay, which co-producer David Permut ("Hacksaw Ridge") told Deadline is "one of the most heartfelt, honest and emotional pieces of material I’ve read in years." Deadline reports that the producers are seeking a director, and did not share information on any other attached stars or what aspects of Ellis’ life the film would cover.

As noted in the Los Angeles Times‘ 2008 obituary, the unpredictable Ellis struggled with alcohol and narcotic abuse throughout much of his baseball career, which included a 1971 World Series win with the Pirates. He started counseling others with substance dependency issues near the end of his career, continuing that work after his 1979 retirement. He also addressed racism in baseball on multiple occasions, including a battle with his team when the leadership instructed him to stop wearing hair curlers in the dugout. He also fought for players’ rights to free agency, which allowed more players of color to demand larger salaries. He died in 2008 at age 63 from liver disease.