Over the last several years, ESPN Films has most been known for its 30 for 30 documentaries. However, they’ve already expanded beyond the standard 30 for 30 format with projects like the 7.5-hour OJ: Made In America (which won an Oscar this year), 30 for 30 Shorts and the upcoming 30 for 30 Podcasts. As per an interview ESPN Films senior vice president and executive producer Connor Schell did with Business Insider’s Jason Guerrasio this week, there’s another unconventional project in the works, too, which will be with famed director Alex Gibney (seen above):
Schell says there are also a few big ideas similar in scope as “O.J.: Made in America” that he has kicking around. Though he was coy about what those actually are, he did hint at one: a project with Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney (who made the “30 for 30” documentary “Catching Hell” in 2011 that looked at the Steve Batman incident during Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series at Chicago’s Wrigley Field) on athletes’ obsession with physical excellence.
“This is a project we talked to Alex about for literally several years and we’ve recently moved forward,” said Schell. “It’s a multi-part series about performance and the limits of performance and the evolution of the pursuit of perfection with the human body. I think it’s a bit of a departure for us that will be less narrative storytelling and more first-person scientific journalism almost. I’m really excited about that on the horizon.”
That is very different for ESPN Films, and it sounds more like something we’d see on E:60 or Outside The Lines. However, Gibney has a solid resume, and if he and ESPN Films think there’s a way to make an interesting film out of that rather than a shorter segment on one of ESPN’s other programs, more power to them. It will certainly be interesting to see what they come up with, and how it deviates from the 30 for 30 norm. We’ll see how it turns out.