Other than Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, the other performance from Steve McQueen‘s “Shame” that’s earned significant praise is that of Nicole Beharie, who portrayed the woman who offers Brandon a fleeting chance at a normal relationship. Our own Venice review of the film described her as “a real find, painting a vivid, warm picture with only a few scenes; she should go on to bigger and better things from here on out.” We certainly weren’t wrong as the actress has now joined Brian Helgeland‘s upcoming biopic of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American baseball player to join the Major Leagues.
Beharie will play Rachel Isum, the love of Robinson’s life who would later become the mother of his three children and, after Jackie’s passing, earned major academic honours through her nursing career. Newcomer Chadwick Boseman stars as Robinson himself with Harrison Ford on board as Brooklyn Dodgers exec Branch Rickey, who made the groundbreaking, color-barrier-smashing decision to sign Robinson.
It’s definitely a story that has award-season potential written all over it but in the hands of Helgeland, we’ll keep our expectations in check for now. Though he’s writer of such acclaimed films such as “L.A. Confidential” and “Mystic River,” Helgeland’s work behind the camera has been a bit more uneven with Mel Gibson-starrer “Payback,” “A Knight’s Tale” and “The Order” all to his name. However, if the writing and directing both dovetail the way the material promises, this could be (forgive the pun) a home run. [Deadline]