The story of Jackie Robinson is one of the most important stories in sports history, but it is also one of the most important social stories of the 20th century. As the first black ballplayer in Major League Baseball, Robinson became one of the focal points at an early stage in the ever-evolving shift in American race relations. Which is to say that he was subjected to the same scorn, intimidation, and attacks as many other black men and women, but on a much larger scale.

The first full trailer for 42 is a dramatic, energetic thing, but it is also infuriating. It recreates some of our worst behavior in broad strokes, and even if the actions seen here are dramatically enhanced, the core attitudes and behavior have an inarguable basis in history. And while 42 sports Harrison Ford grumping and growling his way through some pretty impressive makeup, there’s enough of a sense of reality in this footage to make the intimidation of Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman) have serious impact. Presumably, that will also make his eventual victory and acceptance pay off with the power of a grand slam. Read More »

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Thanks to Independence Day, it’s been a fairly slow week for film news — but it looks like the TV folks have been keeping themselves plenty busy over the past few days. After the jump:

  • Danny McBride talks the surprise fourth season of Eastbound & Down
  • Fraggle Rock spin-off, The Doozers, will shoot in Canada this month
  • Watch a teaser for Jerry Seinfeld‘s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
  • Frank Darabont‘s L.A. Noir pics show Jon Bernthal and Simon Pegg

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With Goodfellas and Casino scribe Nicholas Pileggi writing and James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma) set to direct the pilot, it’s probably not surprising that CBS’ 1960s Las Vegas-set Ralph Lamb is attracting some serious acting talent as well. Dennis Quaid is now in talks for the title role, a real-life rodeo cowboy who went on to become Clark County’s longest-serving sheriff. The Shield alum Michael Chiklis is negotiating to play Lamb’s nemesis, a Chicago mobster who decides to take on Las Vegas.

Though Chiklis is known for his work on shows like The Shield, The Commish, and more recently, No Ordinary Family, Ralph Lamb would mark the first regular TV series gig for Quaid. The show is one of two gangster-themed TV shows on Pileggi’s plate at the moment; he also has a small-screen version of Goodfellas set up at AMC. [Vulture, THR]

After the jump, a Heroes alum joins a Walking Dead star on Frank Darabont’s new series.

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Frank Darabont, ousted from The Walking Dead, did not waste any time setting up a new television project. He is spearheading a TNT show called L.A. Noir that sounds as if it will tread much the same ground as Warner Bros. upcoming film Gangster Squad, as it follows the extended face-off between Mickey Cohen and the LA mob and the LAPD.

Until today all we knew of the show was that Darabont would write and direct the ’40s-set pilot, and produce the show that follows. Now we know that Darabont has his eye on one actor from The Walking Dead to star in the show. But that means possible spoilers for The Walking Dead, so the info follows below. Read More »

Preparations are under way for a darker, bloodier season two of The Walking Dead. And now it seems that series producer/creator Frank Darabont may bring in his old compatriot Stephen King to write an episode. During a Walking Dead panel at C2E2 in Chicago over the weekend, actress Laurie Holden dropped word that Stephen King would be writing an episode. Read More »

First Cast Photo from The Walking Dead

io9 has gotten their hands on the first full cast photo from Frank Darabont‘s (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) small screen adaptation of The Walking Dead. The AMC Television series stars Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually), Jon Bernthal (The Pacific), Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), Laurie Holden (The Mist), and Emma Bell (Law & Order). The show follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, traveling in search of a safe and secure home after a zombie apocalypse. Hit the jump to see the image in full.

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AMC have today officially announced their order of a six-episode first season of The Walking Dead, adapted from Robert Kirkman’s comic book series. Frank Darabont is writing and directing, at the very least for the pilot episode, and that’s recommendation enough for me.

The series is set to premiere during AMC’s annual marathon of horror and thriller programming, which they’re now calling Fearfest. Seems like a solid launching pad… in fact, I imagine the unveiling of such a hotly anticipated series as this in the season will actually give the marathon a boost.

The press release also announced that Jon Bernthal has been cast as Officer Shane, a key player and best-friend of the protagonist, Office Rick Grimes. Not yet official, but already reported, is that Jonny Lee Miller is the current front runner for the role of Rick.

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