The 1993 cult classic baseball film The Sandlot is in the process of getting a prequel at 20th Century Fox. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the original’s release, which has previously spawned two direct-to-video sequels.
The Sandlot, which was written and directed by David Mickey Evans, is a coming-of-age comedy about a group of neighborhood boys and their love of baseball. Set in 1962, the story is mainly told from the perspective of Tom Guiry’s character Scottie Smalls, a new kid who moves to town with his mom and stepdad. Smalls is quickly taken under the wing of Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez – the best ball player at the local sandlot. Rodriguez, played by Mike Vitar, introduces Smalls to his other friends, and together they play baseball, hangout in treehouses, attempt to steal a kiss from the lifeguard at the public pool, and ultimately confront the menace on the other side of the fence that runs along the sandlot – the infamous ball-eating dog known only as The Beast.
According to a new report from Deadline, a prequel to The Sandlot is in the works with Evans attached to write. While Evans had Robert Gunter to co-write the first time around, early indicators are that Austin Reynolds is coming aboard to help with the script this time out. While the film’s plot is still tightly under wraps, sources say that it will once again involve the legend of The Beast.
The Sandlot cast included a number of other 1990s actors who would go on to star in some of the decade’s most popular children’s films, including The Big Green’s Patrick Renna as Hamilton “Ham” Porter, Casper’s Chauncey Leopardi as Michael “Squints” Palledorous, and The Mighty Ducks’ Brandon Quintin Adams as Kenny DeNunez. Most notable among the adult cast was the man behind the voice of Mufasa and Darth Vader, James Earl Jones. Jones plays Mr. Mertle, a former baseball star and The Beast’s owner. The Sandlot 2, which featured an entirely new cast, and The Sandlot: Heading Home, which brought on Luke Perry to star, largely received subpar reviews.
Recapturing the magic from 25 years ago is a tall task for Evans and Reynolds. For an entire generation that grew up in the ’90s, The Sandlot holds a special place in the zeitgeist and has fused seamlessly into the list of classic references. “You’re killin’ me, Smalls!”, “You play ball like a girl!”, and “Legends never die” are just a few of the iconic phrases frequently pulled from the film. Following the flop of both sequels, the first of which was also written and directed by Evans, it would appear that 20th Century Fox is really swinging for the fences.