Announced a few months ago, Brian Helgeland and Legendary Pictures are developing a new film based on history’s most celebrated baseball figure, Jackie Robinson, in collaboration with Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson.
The big question has, of course, been, who should be cast to play Jackie Robinson? As I’ve said before, when it comes to biopics, I’d prefer that they cast unknowns; but, given the expected size of this project, I initially guessed that they’d go with someone who’s somewhat known – although not necessarily an A-lister.
Well… not-so-fast my friends…
It’s just been announced that relative newcomer Chadwick Boseman (who’s worked primarily in television on shows like Fringe, Justified and Castle) is in final negotiations to play Jackie Robinson in the biopic titled 42 (after his jersey number which was retired by all major league baseball teams in 1997).
Brian Helgeland will direct from a script he also wrote, which will tell Robinson’s story, as the first African-American to play in the major leagues. I’m guessing this won’t be a birth-to-death biopic, and will instead focus on highlights from Robinson’s life.
Earlier this week, Harrison Ford was reportedly offered the role of Branch Rickey in the film – the Brooklyn Dodgers’ manager who made history by signing Robinson as the first black player in the history of the Major League Baseball organization. No word on whether he’s accepted.
Regardless, congrats to the young Chadwick Boseman on what should be his highest profile yet!