Jackie Robinson Biopic Gets Greenlit

Jackie Robinson BiopicLegendary baseball star Jackie Robinson is getting the big-screen biopic treatment from writer-director Brian Helgeland (A Knight’s Tale), who calls the athlete’s story “powerful and inspiring.”

Robinson had a major impact not just as a ballplayer but as a civil rights pioneer, breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947 when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was also the first black Most Valuable Player in 1949 and played in six World Series before retiring in 1956. His number 42 is the only one that has ever been retired across the entire sport.

The athlete starred as himself in 1950’s ‘The Jackie Robinson Story,’ which followed him from baseball’s Negro Leagues to the majors.

He was also portrayed by ‘Men of a Certain Age’ star Andre Braugher in the 1990 TV movie ‘The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson,’ about his early life in the military, where he was court-martialed for disregarding the rules of segregation.

Legendary Pictures is collaborating with Robinson’s widow, Rachel, to ensure the authenticity of her late husband’s story in the upcoming biopic. Ruby Dee portrayed her in the 1950 film, then returned to play Robinson’s mother in the 1990 project.

“We are deeply honored and grateful to be able to bring the Jackie Robinson story to audiences around the world,” said Legendary’s chairman and CEO, Thomas Tull, in a statement. “The legacy he left on history, society and the sport of baseball is one that will never be forgotten, and we are pleased to tell this amazing story of a true American hero.”

Helgeland issued his own statement: “There are few opportunities that come along as a filmmaker that allow the opportunity to share a true story with your audience, let alone one as powerful and inspiring as that of Jackie Robinson’s.”

Whom would you cast as Robinson?

[Via Movieline/Variety]