Screwball, the new documentary from director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman, made its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2018. Corben and Spellman opted for a comedic approach to Biogenesis steroids in baseball story. Towards this end, the duo decided to use children to re-enact key moments in the Biogenesis scandal.
Corben based the comedic documentary largely on the fist-hand accounts of two of the main participants in the Biogenesis story – Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch and disgruntled Biogenesis employee Porter Fischer.
— Jason Guerrasio (@JasonGuerrasio) September 8, 2018
The first person to contact Corben was Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch. Bosch loved to brag about his involvement with the Major League Baseball (MLB) players back when he was selling them steroids. He seemingly loved the fame that came along with his relationships with celebrity athletes during the good times. And he probably even enjoyed the infamy of being a drug dealer to the stars during the bad times. So it came as no surprise that Bosch was eager to seek out someone to tell his story.
Corben had to wait for Bosch to serve his prison sentence first. Bosch pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances (anabolic steroids and testosterone) to amateur and professional athletes. He was sentenced to 20-months in prison.
The second person to contact Corben was the whistleblower who was responsible for blowing the lid off the Biogenesis steroids in baseball scandal – Porter Fischer. Fischer exposed Biogenesis as payback against Bosch. Bosch owed $4000 to Fischer and refused to pay him.
After Bosch got out of prison, Corben interviewed both Bosch and Fischer over a 6-day period in 2017. Corben realized that he hit the jackpot with the vivid, colorful and animated stories told by the two men.
“They were very excited and animated,” Corben said. “They would tell these stories and almost perform what the other person was saying in addition to what they said. It all was very in-the-moment…
“I was starting to assemble the interviews we shot and I thought, ‘My God, all these guys are acting like such children,’ and the light bulb went off.”
Corben and Spellman agreed that the use of child actors would be the perfect way to reenact the stories told by Bosch and Fischer. The producers cast child actors who resembled most of the characters involved in the Biogenesis scandal. Children played both Bosch and Fischer and MLB players like Alex Rodrgiuez and Manny Ramirez. And Corben and Spellman didn’t stop there. Children also played MLB investigators and Miami gangstters as well.
That's Miami's own Bryan Blanco as "Tony Bosch." A very gifted young actor. https://t.co/ws68RvyUUH
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) September 9, 2018
Bosch’s downfall is humiliating and embarrassing on its own. But the comedic retelling of it with the use of child actors must make it even worse for Bosch. It’s hard to imagine Bosch would be happy with Screwball.
However, Bosch may suffer from an utter lack of self-awareness. Or maybe Bosch is desperate to remain relevant and didn’t care about how he was portrayed. His story may be all that he has left.
“People get to a certain point in life sometimes when all they have is their story,” Corben said. “We’ve experienced this with other people we have interviewed, opportunities are now limited and all they have is their story, and so they are inclined to share it, for better or worse.”
Guerrasio, J. (September 8, 2018). How the ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ director used the doping scandal that brought down Alex Rodriguez to create a comedic documentary about Miami gangsters. Retrieved from businessinsider.com/cocaine-cowboys-director-used-the-alex-rodriguez-doping-scandal-to-make-new-documentary-2018-9