Given the films that the company usually collaborates on – including Chris Nolan’s Batman output, Sucker Punch and the upcoming Jack the Giant Killer and Pacific Rim – you might be forgiven for thinking that Legendary Pictures was planning to turn baseball legend Jackie Robinson into a superhero or a giant figure stomping all over America. But in truth, Thomas Tull and his team have hired Brian Helgeland to write a direct a biopic of the man.
Robinson, for anyone not aware, broke through racial barriers in the 1940s by becoming the first black man to play in the US major leagues since the 1880s. His skill, unflappable character and commitment made him a major player not only in the world of sports, but in civil rights.
So you can imagine that it’s not the first time that Robinson’s life has been brought to the screen – he even starred in one himself back in 1950. And filmmakers have been trying to work up biopics for years, with Spike Lee long harbouring a dream of Denzel Washington playing Robinson and Robert Redford aiming to get the story of Robinson and his time with the Brooklyn Dodgers into cinemas.
Now, though, Tull and Legendary have hatched a deal with the Robinson estate and his widow Rachel. "We are deeply honoured and grateful to be able to bring the Jackie Robinson story to audiences around the world," Tull says. "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."