Eatonton Mayor Walt Rocker Jr., Darryl Strawberry, Rebecca Rocker and Walt Rocker III become friends Oct. 27 in New York City. The Rockers visited the former MLB player because he is coming to Eatonton to film his life story.
Eatonton Mayor Walt Rocker Jr., Darryl Strawberry, Rebecca Rocker and Walt Rocker III become friends Oct. 27 in New York City. The Rockers visited the former MLB player because he is coming to Eatonton to film his life story.

MLB player’s movie to be shot in Eatonton

The Eatonton Messenger
November 4, 2016
Lynn Hobbs

It’s now official that Hollywood will come to Eatonton. Tytan Pictures recently announced it signed a contract with famed Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry to produce his life story from script to screen.

The Georgia-based film company, which currently leases two studios in Eatonton, entered into the contract in early October. The movie will be filmed in Los Angeles, New York City, southern Florida and Eatonton, Tytan principal and executive producer Jim Stone said.

“It’s great for Tytan Pictures and it’s great for Eatonton,” Stone said in a telephone interview with The Messenger. “It was the right place at the right time. We’re a smaller studio, and he (Strawberry) wanted to work with people he could trust. We’re very excited, very honored to be working with Darryl.”

Drafted first overall in the 1980 draft, Strawberry played professional baseball 17 years with the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees. With 335 lifetime career homeruns, Strawberry was elected to, and played in, eight All-Star games, and played on four World Series championship teams.

Strawberry’s illustrious career was also riddled with drug and alcohol addiction, which resulted in a cocaine-related arrest in 1999 and a stint in prison, Stone said. But after reaching bottom, Strawberry was able to overcome his addiction through his Christian faith and has been sober for 13 years. He travels all over the country, helping people at his addiction-recovery centers and speaking to groups, according to Stone.

“His life story is just incredible,” he said. “It’s the kind of movie we want to make in Eatonton. It’s an inspirational film, the kind parents will want to bring their children to.”

Noting that Strawberry’s life during his addiction included a lot of drugs, partying and sex, Stone said Tytan will tailor those scenes to make them appropriate for all audiences. Basing the script on Strawberry’s New York Times bestseller, “Straw: Finding My Way,” the Tytan creators are honoring Strawberry’s faith, Stone said.

“Darryl’s favorite Bible verse is Mark 8:36, ‘What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?’ He literally had the whole world with fame, a $5 million salary, wife and children; but he was still empty,” Stone emphasized. “Darryl wants us to tell the real story. He wants us to be honest about it.”

The goal is to start the actual filming in late 2017, but it could be early 2018, Stone said. Describing it as “a major feature film like Jackie Robinson’s story ‘42’,” the film has a $1 million-plus budget and will involve the MLB and “some really great, really big actors — we’re still working on that right now, and we couldn’t be more excited,” he added. “So every aspect of it will be on par with the greatness of everything Hollywood puts out.”

Noting the success of baseball movies, such as “42” and “For the Love of the Game,” and the success of inspirational films such as “Fireproof,” Stone said he thinks “it’s going to reach a lot of people. It’s really big for Tytan Pictures and it’s really big for the people of Eatonton.”

Tytan executives first were introduced to Strawberry and his manager, John Luppo, about a month ago by New York Producer Brian D’Antoni, with whom they recently shot a music video in Eatonton for The Band Steele. Stone said last week, Eatonton Mayor Walt Rocker Jr. and his wife, Rebecca Rocker, flew to New York City for the Tytan meeting with Strawberry.

“I’m really grateful the Mayor and Rebecca flew out to New York to meet him; that meant a lot,” Stone said. “Darryl is a dynamic speaker, yet he’s so humble and so at peace. I can’t wait to bring him to Eatonton.”