Robinson stars as himself. As an actor, he was a good fielder.
Deadline reports that Legendary Pictures is set to make a biopic about Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League Baseball. Dick Cook is exec producing and Brian Helgeland is writing the script and directing. Rachel Robinson and the Robinson estate are cooperating with the project.
Thomas Tull, Legendary Pictures Chairman, said:
“We are deeply honored and grateful to be able to bring the Jackie Robinson story to audiences around the world,” Tull said 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.”
Jackie Robinson was one of the 20th century’s American heroes. He’s one of the few really bulletproof topics for schoolkids–you know, he pursued his dream, took a stand on an important issue that helped change America, and did not lose his cool no matter how badly he was treated. Even more amazing, no one has found any dark secrets like extramarital affairs, financial entanglements, drug use, or any of those other things that often tarnish other people held up as heroes. Trust me, if you’re someone who writes for school books (and I do) it can often be hard to find people who on one hand made a great impact and also did not have any difficult to overlook personal failings. Robinson is one of the rare people you can use in a lesson without cringing.
Astonishingly, there hasn’t been a real biopic of Robinson, other than the 1950 one that starred Robinson himself (okay, there was a flaw in Robinson–not much of an actor). Several have been rumored throughout the years, but none have got off the ground. Part of the problem may have come from the Robinson family who has guarded his legacy very carefully and reportedly been quite demanding in the past when it comes to proposals of biopics and issues about script control. In an effort to approach the Robinson story from another angle, Robert Redford has been trying to put together a project based on a recent biography of Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers manager who chose Robinson to break baseball’s color barrier. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of progress with that, though.
My guess is that Rachel Robinson, who’s in her 80s (though you’d swear she was in her 60s–she’s incredible looking), decided that she wanted to see a film done right in her lifetime and found that