As we all know, the “E” in ESPN stands for “Entertainment,” and the formation of ESPN Films last year was meant to take the network from TV sets to the big-screen. Unlike ESPN Original Productions, which focused on biopics like “3″ and “Junction Boys” and the TV series “Playmakers,” ESPN Films was specifically created to produce feature-length dramatic and documentary films for theatrical release.
But after announcing the planned production of a Jackie Robinson biopic starring Robert Redford as Branch Rickey last year, ESPN Films had been relatively quiet. They had produced documentary specials such as “The Greatest Game Ever Played” and “Black Magic” for the network: interesting, but exactly the same sort of programming ESPN had already been making.
ESPN Films has thrown its yet-to-be-considerable weight behind an upcoming film for theatrical release about Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey. In an unexpected coup, Robert Redford will play Rickey, the Dodgers general manager responsible for breaking the color line in baseball.
(We know we were supposed to use a “Natural” pic here, but we’ll take “Three Days of the Condor” over that one any time)
While there’s no word yet on who will play Jackie, we are already digging around on Fandango for advance tickets. After all, how could this not be phenomenal? How could anyone dampen the mood for this combination? Oh, that’s right… ESPN could let a senior VP use business speak to make us want to stab our eyes and ears out with a Buick:
“…this theatrical film was a natural extension for the company which tries to serve sports fans “however they consume sports content.”"