TV series based on Shohei Ohtani interpreter gambling scandal in the works at Lionsgate

Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani, right, and his former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara sit beside each other at a news conference.
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani, right, and his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, attend at a news conference.
(Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)

Lionsgate Television is developing a scripted series based on the real-life gambling scandal involving Dodgers superstar Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter.

The show will follow Ohtani’s story — his meteoric rise in the MLB, his 10-year, $700-million contract with the Dodgers and the devastating news that his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, had allegedly stolen $17 million from him to pay off gambling debts.

The Dodgers fired Mizuhara after learning of the allegations. Mizuhara, 39, has agreed to plead guilty to one count each of bank fraud and signing a false tax return. He faces up to 33 years in prison for the two crimes.


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The series will be produced by Tony Award winner Scott Delman, known for “The Book of Mormon” and “A Raisin in the Sun,” and sports journalist Albert Chen, Santa Monica-based Lionsgate said Thursday.

“This is Major League Baseball’s biggest sports gambling scandal since Pete Rose — and at its center is its biggest star, one that MLB has hitched its wagon on,” Chen said in a statement. “We’ll get to the heart of the story — a story of trust, betrayal and the trappings of wealth and fame.”

The Ohtani series is just the latest in a long list of TV shows and movies that have been ripped from the headlines. The 2018 rescue of a soccer team from a cave in Thailand was the subject of two movies, a Netflix series and documentary and a National Geographic documentary. Last year’s “Dumb Money” was based on the real-life Gamestop stock saga, one of several Hollywood projects that were launched to capitalize on the meme stock sensation.