Baseball’s all-time hits leader will be portrayed by Tom Sizemore, who allegedly failed a recent drug test.

Pete Rose would feel right at home on “The Sopranos,” says famed director Peter Bogdanovich.

Rose “has a lot of the “Sopranos’ mentality,” says Bogdanovich, who will direct “Hustle,” an ESPN original movie about the gambling decline and fall of baseball’s all-time hits leader.

“Pete created an atmosphere around himself that was outside society, outside the law,” says Bogdanovich, whose psychiatrist Elliot Kupferberg is a recurring “Sopranos” character.

“Pete was operating on another level. There was a secret life there. People were living with lies. He traveled with not very distinguished company.”

“Hustle” chronicles Rose’s gambling during the mid-to-late 1980s, when he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. (He starred for the Phillies from ‘79 through ‘83.)

The movie is based on Major League Baseball’s Dowd Report, which concluded that Rose had bet on baseball. That led to his being banned from both the game and the Hall of Fame. “Hustle”is slated to debut Sept. 25.

Another bad boy, Tom Sizemore, has signed to play Rose. ESPN says production will begin, as scheduled, May 17 in Toronto, despite the star’s latest run-in with the law.

Sizemore (“Black Hawk Down” allegedly failed a drug test this week a violation of his probation. He was convicted in August on charges of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend, former “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday in Los Angeles.

Sizemore, an ultra-intense actor, put on 30 pounds to play New York mob boss John Gotti in NBC’s “Witness to the Mob” in 1998. As Rose, “he’ll be unbelievably great,” says Oscar-nominated Bogdanovich (“The Last Picture Show,” “Mask”).

Sizemore “can play tough. This is the right moment in his life to turn in a great performance. This role requires nuance. It’s not a black-and-white kind of person. There are lots of colors.” (We love director-talk.)

Bogdanovich, 64, is not what you’d call a big baseball fan. As an outfielder at summer camp, “I would close my eyes when the ball came toward me.” What attracted him to the ESPN project was the “classic tragic figure” of Rose.

“Pete is Dostoyevskian, a degenerate gambler,” Bogdanovich says. “It’s intriguing when somebody has an obsession he can’t seem to cope with. With all the great things he accomplished, he screwed up his life. It’s sad and fascinating.”

It’s also a “very American” story, in his view. And not just because it revolves around our national pastime.

“We build people up to such a degree in this country, they think they are outside the law. We honor celebrity to a fault. They get breaks. Then we’re just as quick to tear them down, bring them up and tear them down again.”

Back to “Sopranos”: Bogdanovich did two episodes as the shrink this season, and he directed one. He and creator David Chase go back to ‘93, when Bogdanovich wrote an episode of Chase’s quirky CBS series, “Northern Exposure.”

Playing a psychiatrist isn’t a big stretch for him.

“A director is like a therapist. When you’re making a picture, you’re always dealing with actors’ emotional problems, either with performances on the set or with their private lives. A good director has to listen.”



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