After tackling the life of baseball great Jackie Robinson with 42, Legendary is returning to the ballpark with a biopic of Roberto Clemente, the Pittsburgh Pirates legend who was the first Latino inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The company has picked up the rights to David Maraniss’ book Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero and has entered into an agreement with Clemente’s family for his life rights.
Ben Silverman and Jay Weisleder are producing via their Fuego Films banner along with Legendary. Giselle Fernandez and Sandra Condito will serve as executive producers.
Clemente was a Puerto Rican outfielder renowned for his rifle of an arm and passion for the game. One of the few players to have 3,000 career hits, he played his entire career with the Pirates from 1955-1972 and was named National League MVP in 1966 and then World Series MVP in 1971. But he also was known for his immense charity work, and he spent years helping people in the Caribbean.
After an earthquake hit Nicaragua in December 1972, Clemente helped organize disaster relief. On New Year’s Eve, he accompanied a flight to the country, but his plane, overloaded with aid packages, crashed off the coast of Puerto Rico. He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.
The feature project is close to the heart of Legendary CEO Thomas Tull, a sports fan who also serves as a board member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Silverman is coming off a Peabody win for Jane the Virgin, which he produces via his shingle, Electus. He teamed up with Weisleder to produce Hands of Stone, which tells the true story of boxers Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard and stars Edgar Ramirez, Usher and Robert De Niro. The Weinstein Co. is releasing.
Legendary’s 2013 biopic 42 was one of the company’s earliest efforts that it developed internally. Starring Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, the film garnered critical praise and cleared the box-office fences with $95 million.
Next up for the company is Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, which stars Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hunnam.