If ever the story of an athlete deserved to be told in a major motion picture, it’s the story of Jackie Robinson. The man who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball not only broke cultural and social ground; he was one of the best people to ever play the game of baseball.

In every baseball stadium in North America his number, 42, is retired. That number is also the title of writer/director Brian Helgeland‘s upcoming biopic, which opens on April 12, 2013. Chadwick Boseman plays Robinson and Harrison Ford plays the Brooklyn Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, who is credited with stepping up and doing something no one had ever done before: hire an African American baseball player for their team.

Check out the powerful teaser trailer for the film after the jump. Read More »


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Briefly: We’ve just heard that Harrison Ford is the latest actor that the producers of Jackie Robinson film 42 have eyed to play Branch Rickey, the LA Dodgers exec who helped break the color barrier in baseball by signing Jackie Robinson. While we don’t know if Ford will end up playing the role (somehow I expect not) we do know who’ll play Jackie Robinson.

Chadwick Boseman, whose credits are primarily in small TV roles going back to 2003, will play Robinson, according to Variety.

Update: Looks like I was wrong in the opening paragraph, as Jeff Sneider at Variety just said via Twitter, “BREAKING: HARRISON FORD set to play BRANCH RICKEY in Legendary Pictures’ JACKIE ROBINSON biopic 42! Link coming…” The full press release from Legendary Pictures is below. Read More »

Robert Redford? Nope. Jack Nicholson? Nope. Now Harrison Ford is Legendary Pictures’ target to play the leading role of Branch Rickey, the Los Angeles Dodgers executive credited with signing Jackie Robinson and breaking baseball’s color barrier, in the film 42, written and directed by Brian Helgeland. Ford has yet to sign but, according to reports, the role is his if he wants it. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Jack Nicholson Offered Jackie Robinson Biopic ’42’

The dramatic, inspirational story of Jackie Robinson, Major League Baseball’s first black player, seems so ripe for a Hollywood adaptation that it’s a little surprising we haven’t seen the story hit the big screen in some time. Filmmakers have certainly tried — Spike Lee had a biopic in the works at one point, and Robert Redford tried for years to get his own version going — but for whatever reason, those projects never panned out. Happily, the iconic sports star and civil rights hero may finally be getting his day in the sun. Earlier this year, Legendary Pictures announced an official biopic to be directed by Brian Helgeland for release by Warner Bros., and now it seems casting on the picture has slowly begun.

While we still have no idea who’ll play Robinson, a new report has surfaced saying that Jack Nicholson has been offered a part in the film. Read more after the jump.

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Since the sinking of the Robert Zemeckis mocap remake of Yellow Submarine, the director has been attached to quite a few projects, many of which are live-action. His likely next film is Flight, starring Denzel Washington as a drug-addled pilot who safely performs a seemingly heroic emergency landing, despite being under the influence during the flight. (In other words, he contributed to the emergency.) That could shoot in the fall. He’s also got possible projects The Animated American, Replay and Major Matt Mason.

Now there is one more: Here There Be Monsters, a heavily fictionalized account of the career of British naval officer John Paul Jones, who runs afoul of a sea monster. Brian Helgeland (LA Confidential) scripted, and we’ve got a few more details below. Read More »

Most geeks know the number 42 as Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And if that’s the case, Jackie Robinson is the Ultimate Question. Robinson was the first African American Major League Baseball player and is the only player to have his number, 42, universally retired throughout Major League Baseball (at least it will be when Mariano Rivera stops saving games for the Yankees) as well as his own day celebrated throughout the sport. He is one of the most important sports figures in history and his struggle and triumph is ripe for dramatization.

Legendary Pictures, hot off another rousing financial success with The Hangover Part II, has announced that they’re working with the family of the sports and civil rights icon on an official biopic based on Robinson’s life that will be written and directed by Brian Helgeland. And while we’ve previously reported that Helgeland would be making a Robinson film with Robert Redford, this seems to be a different take. Read More »

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Paul Greengrass to Direct ‘Travis McGee’?

Paul Greengrass has a pretty interesting career — he tends to flip between overtly social/political films and more pulpy material, but even his action films have a level of political awareness. Lately he’s had some trouble getting a movie made at all, with Universal passing on his MLK film Memphis, and the King estate reportedly not so much in love with the script. (The Memphis script isn’t 100% flattering towards Dr. King, and DreamWorks already has a competing project in the works.)

So it looks like it might be time to flip back to the pulp material for a moment. The film Travis McGee, based on John D. MacDonald‘s novel The Deep Blue Good-By, has been riding the development cycle for the past couple years. Oliver Stone was a possible director, and since 2009 Leonardo DiCaprio has been attached to star in what is seen as a possible franchise opener. Now Paul Greengrass is now considering making it his own. Read More »

Robert Redford is already in the baseball hall of fame for playing the lead in The Natural, which is a benchmark in baseball on film. That was a piece of fiction, but now Mr. Redford is poised to play one of the most important real figures in the history of the game: Branch Rickey, who broke the color barrier in baseball by hiring Jackie Robinson to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Read More »

The last time we checked in on the Sony take on Cleopatra, which Scott Rudin is producing as a possible Angelina Jolie star vehicle based on Stacy Schiff‘s biography Cleopatra: A Life, James Cameron wasn’t going to make the film because of his commitment to Avatar 2, and Paul Greengrass was looking like a possible director. But he went on to sign a deal to make Memphis, a film about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Now the latest name to be floated for the director’s chair is David Fincher, with whom Scott Rudin has recently worked on The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Read More »