Does Spike Lee know?

So now I’m wondering what happened to the Robert Redford Jackie Robinson project Brian Helgeland was supposed to be directing, as we alerted you to back in April, which was to be centered on Branch Rickey, the Major League Baseball executive who helped break the game’s color barrier by signing African American Jackie Robinson. That film was supposed to focus on the relationship between Rickey and Robinson, with emphasis on Rickey.

Looks like it’s been shelved in favor of a film that instead centers squarely on Robinson. Not that I’m complaining; maybe the studio read our complaints about the Redford project and opted for the switch 🙂

Recall that Spike spent some 10 years or so trying to get his own Jackie Robinson biopic made but was never able to get the financial backing for it.

Full press release below:


jackie-robinson-01Burbank, CA – June 1, 2011 – Legendary Pictures announced today that it will develop and produce a new film based on history’s most celebrated baseball figure, Jackie Robinson. The movie will pay tribute to the legacy and impact Robinson made when he became the first African American Major League Baseball player.

Legendary will collaborate with Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, to ensure the authenticity of the famed player’s story. Brian Helgeland (LA CONFIDENTIAL / MYSTIC RIVER) will write and direct, with Legendary’s Chairman and CEO, Thomas Tull, producing, and Legendary’s Chief Creative Officer, Jon Jashni, serving as executive producer. Dick Cook, former Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, will also serve as an executive producer. The project will fall under Legendary’s overall agreement with Warner Bros.

“We are deeply honored and grateful to be able to bring the Jackie Robinson story to audiences around the world,” said Tull. “The legacy he left on history, society and the sport of baseball is one that will never be forgotten, and we are pleased to tell this amazing story of a true American hero.”

“My family and I are thrilled to have this important film on Jack produced by Legendary Pictures. We are proud of his lasting impact on our society, and we know that the legacy he left is inspiring and worth preserving,” said Rachel Robinson.

“There are few opportunities that come along as a filmmaker that allow the opportunity to share a true story with your audience, let alone one as powerful and inspiring as that of Jackie Robinson’s,” stated Helgeland. “I believe that with the support of Rachel Robinson we have a unique opportunity to bring one of the most famed stories in American culture and baseball to the screen.”