The Farnsworth Invention: According to Variety, Robert Redford will play Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey in a feature that chronicles the breaking of baseball's color barrier.
The film is an untitled drama about Jackie Robinson, Rickey and manager Leo Durocher. Deep River Prods. and Redford's Wildwood will produce.
Deep River principals Marc Turtletaub and David Friendly are paying William Broyles seven figures to write the script. Robinson's widow, Rachel, will be involved in mobilizing the project.
In the mid-1940s, Rickey scouted the Negro Leagues, lying that he was setting up his own league for black ballplayers when he was really trying to find a player with the resolve to withstand insults and taunts from fans, opposing players and teammates.
"The war had just ended and people were returning to their sense of normalcy, when the most normal thing in life, baseball, was the setting for this groundbreaking event," Broyles said.
Durocher was a wild man who drank, gambled and caroused, but he embraced the idea.
"Then you had Jackie, an extremely moral and religious person who was as profoundly good as Durocher was profoundly (morally) bad. The way these three different characters came together to break the color barrier is what will give this script its thematic strength," Broyles said.
Friendly and Turtletaub said the film will end when Robinson takes the field as a Dodger in 1947. This year, Major League Baseball made April 15 an annual day to recognize Robinson; in 1997, MLB retired his jersey number, 42, for all teams.