ESPN Joins Robert Redford's Biopic on Jackie Robinson

April 16, 2008
Source: Hollywood Reporter

Jackie Robinson

Most guys love sports, to some degree, and can appreciative a good sports biopic when they're made. Robert Redford is currently working on a project telling the story of Brooklyn Dodgers baseball star Jackie Robinson and how he broke baseball's color barrier back in 1947. While Redford has been working on this for several years, ESPN only recently announced that they would co-produce and assist in the development. I'm not sure whether ESPN's involvement means guaranteed success, but at least this is a project that sounds very interested on its whole.

This currently-untitled biopic was first announced in the spring of 2005 but has had troubles coming together. Redford will operate as a producer as well as star in the film as Branch Rickey, the team's general manager whose vision it was to make the statement and whose teamwork with Robinson off the field made it successful. Thomas Carter (Metro, Coach Carter) is attached to direct although a writer hasn't been specified (which I can guess means that is where it's stuck). ESPN will brings its sport expertise to the project as well, which has the blessing of Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson's widow, as well as Branch Rickey Jr. and MLB. The film is being developed for a theatrical release.

Jackie Robinson was a Hall of Fame baseball player who ended eight years of baseball segregation when he began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He was a member of six World Series teams, earned six consecutive All-Star game nominations, and in 1949 was awarded the National League MVP Award. In recognition of his accomplishments, Robinson was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His effect on the world of baseball as we know it was immense and he justifiably deserves a biopic with this much clout.

Ever since I saw the film Sugar at Sundance this year, I realized that baseball movies could still be enjoyable without the Hollywood glamour and budget. Sugar is a fine indie film about a Dominican baseball star named Miguel "Sugar" Santos who played in the minor leagues. While Jackie Robinson is a bit more profound, the appreciation I gained from seeing Sugar has gotten me to be bit more excited for this. I'd really like to see it finally come together and I hope ESPN's involvement will finally seal the deal.

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