LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The story of Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player of modern times, is headed to the big screen with the help of his widow, producers Legendary Pictures said on Wednesday.
Legendary and Rachel Robinson are teaming up on a movie about the late sportsman, who joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and was instrumental in beginning the end of racial segregation in professional baseball.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Brian Helgeland, the writer of “L.A. Confidential”, will write the script and direct the film. Rachel Robinson will serve as a consultant.
Robinson, 88, told Reuters she has wanted to bring her husband’s story to the big screen “for years — back when Sydney Poitier (now 84) could have played Jack.”
But for the current project, she has not centered on any one actor to play her husband. She said the movie will “tell the story of how it all occurred” and focus on “Jack breaking in to baseball, our lives at home and in the ball park, the players, (Dodgers executive) Branch Ricky.”
Warner Bros. film studio will release the project. As a consultant, Robinson said her job will include looking at “the authenticity and richness” of each draft of the script.
“I have a habit of sending a lot of written notes and we discuss things on the phone,” she said.
This is not the first time Robinson’s story has been adapted to the big screen.
In 1950, Jackie Robinson starred in his own 76 minute film, directed by Alfred E. Green. Ruby Dee played his wife, which Robinson said was an easy choice.
“Ruby and I happened to be friends at that time,” she said, adding that at this point, she does not have an actress in mind to portray her.
Robinson died of a heart attack in 1972 at the age of 53.
Asked what her husband would think of the movie project if he were still alive, Robinson said: “He’d be proud because the impact of his legacy is important to America. But he’d also be a little bit shy. He was not a person who looked for celebrity.”
Editing by Jill Serjeant