After a couple of years in which he's won acclaim on and off Broadway in Chekhov productions as well as captured attention and large audiences in An Education and Green Lantern, Peter Sarsgaard has revealed that he is about to make a career shift. He has confirmed to Hitfix and Menswear that he is shortly to make his directorial debut with Born to Run, a movie adaptation of Christopher McDougall's autobiographical account of running barefoot with the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico.
Endurance doesn't even begin to cover the epic scale of Tarahumara running. They can cover hundreds of miles, steadfast in their belief that running free of modern running shoes enables them to cover vast distances without the injuries known all too well by athletes.
Sarsgaard's association with Born to Run was first noticed in August last year when McDougall's appearance in the famous Leadville 100 race in Colorado was accompanied by a crew and cameras – plus the crowd-drawing Peter Sarsgaard and his brother-in-law Jake Gyllenhaal. Despite being more than able runners themselves, the actors didn't compete in the endurance event. They watched, observed and filmed.
But which of the two was it who was involved with the project?
Sarsgaard is not only directing Born to Run, he is writing the script. Acting in it as well would be a step too far. He told Hitfix:
We're going to try to make, you know, a kind of wild dirt magazine sort of version of Born to Run that honors the true free spirit of what a lot of these people are like… I was drawn to it because I wanted to play Caballo Blanco and then I got drawn into directing it and now I don't feel comfortable [doing both].
With Gyllenhaal frequently spotted running across the Hollywood Hills, sometimes in the 'barefoot shoes' made famous by McDougall, one might consider him a definite possibility for the lead (incidentally, he is also about to appear in a celebrity episode of Man vs Wild with Bear Grylls). Chris McDougall himself has contributed to the mystery over which of the actors would feature:
They're keeping that one a bit under wraps for now, but [Jake's] involved. I'm not sure in what sense. But I will tell you that this dude is in unbelievable shape. We went up this mountain pass and this guy just blazed on by.
Sarsgaard is currently looking for funding for Born to Run, which will be produced by Kathy and Frank Marshall. The aim is to shoot through the winter in Sierra Madre, Mexico.