Saturday December 9, 2023

Avatar’s Jeff Unay to Direct Documentary on Pitcher Aaron Barrett

  • Barrett made it back to the majors in 2019 after a gruesome arm injury.
  • Sports documentaries have done well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
aaron barrett
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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In a year that’s already seen sports-driven documentaries like “The Last Dance” soar in popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, another athlete is set to get his story told: professional baseball pitcher Aaron Barrett.

Barrett famously suffered a gruesome fracture to his humerus in a minor league outing while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Players on the scene have said the injury sounded like a gunshot. 

Despite the setback, after undergoing surgery, Barrett eventually worked his way back to the majors and won the 2019 World Series title with the Washington Nationals. After electing free agency in October, Barrett signed a new minor league deal with the Nationals on Nov. 5.

Directing the documentary, as reported by The Athletic, will be Jeff Unay, known for his visual effects work on the films “King Kong” and “Avatar.” He made his directorial debut on the documentary “The Cage Fighter” in 2017.

“It’s surreal and very humbling,” Barrett told The Athletic. “I have seen so many documentaries during the pandemic, and how popular ‘The Last Dance’ was. So, to even wrap my head around a documentary being about me is very, very surreal.”

Unay will have “full access” to Barrett’s medical records and people in his life, The Athletic reported. Barrett and Unay were introduced through Top Velocity pitching coach Brent Pourciau, who was “so moved” by Barrett’s comeback story when he was rehabbing that asked to share it with Unay.

“[Unay’s] whole thing is, ‘Listen, if we don’t make a dollar off this thing … that is not what it is about. If we inspire one person, then I did my job,’” Barrett told The Athletic. “That’s what I love about this guy, we are on the same page in terms of telling my story and inspiring others to never give up.”

In addition to “The Last Dance,” 2020 saw ESPN air documentaries on Bruce Lee, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, Lance Armstrong, and Oscar Pistorius — and set another on Maya Moore. 

In recent weeks, Netflix also announced an upcoming documentary on WWE founder Vince McMahon, and HBO acquired the rights to Chris Paul’s “The Day Sports Stood Still,” about the pandemic sports shutdown. 

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