“Ezra Edelman is following up the award-winning “O.J.: Made in America” by spotlighting another famous athlete.
The Oscar winner has signed on to direct Legendary’s biopic on baseball icon Roberto Clemente.
Legendary closed a deal for Edelman to develop a feature film with writer Rowan Ricardo Phillips based on the life of the famed baseball player. John Lesher will produce alongside Fuego Films’ Ben Silverman and Jay Weisleder, with Giselle Fernandez and Sandra Condito serving as executive producers.
The studio previously picked up the rights to David Maraniss’ book “Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero” and entered into an agreement with Clemente’s family for his life rights. Legendary has already seen success in this genre, having successfully launched the Jackie Robinson biopic “42” to box office and critical success, and hopes for similar results with this film.
Clemente played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 to 1972. On Dec. 31, 1972, Clemente boarded a small plane en route from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua to assist with earthquake relief. The heavily loaded plane crashed just off the Puerto Rican coast, and Clemente’s body was never recovered. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.
Whiting Award-winning poet, Guggenheim fellow, and Paris Review sports columnist, Phillips is also the author of four books: “The Ground,” “Heaven,” “The Circuit,” and 2010’s essay collection “When Blackness Rhymes With Blackness.” Also a prodigious sportswriter, his work in that field has appeared in magazines such as The New Yorker as well as the Library of America’s “Basketball: Great Writing About America’s Game.”
Edleman’s “O.J.: Made in America” was celebrated for not only its in-depth look at the infamous football star, but also for its reflection of race relations in the country. The pic went on to win an Emmy and Oscar for best documentary.”