Filmmaker Ezra Edelman is continuing his cinematic trek through the wide world of sports.
Edelman won an Academy Award last year for the documentary O.J.: Made in America. Variety reports he will now direct a feature biopic on Puerto Rican baseball icon Roberto Clemente, who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburg Pirates and was the first Latino to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
On New Year’s Eve 1972, Clemente died in a plane crash while delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. He was 38.
Edelman will work on the film with first-time screenwriter, poet and sports columnist Rowan Ricardo Phillips, who will adapt the script from author David Maraniss’ book “Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero.” The studio behind the project is Legendary Pictures. It named Giselle Fernandez and Sandra Condito executive producers.
This is will not be Edelman’s first experience on the diamond. He won a Sports Emmy Award in 2007 for his HBO documentary Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush as part of the cable network’s award-winning 30 for 30 series. He also made documentaries on the rivalry between two NBA legends, Los Angeles Lakers’ Magic Johnson and Boston Celtics’ Larry Bird (Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals) and on MLB player Curt Flood (The Curious Case of Curt Flood), who famously refused to be traded to another team in 1969 – a decision that he ultimately lost when the case went before the Supreme Court to challenge baseball’s reserve clause.
Along with the Clemente biopic, Edelman is still attached to direct The Ballad of Richard Jewell on the Olympics security guard who saved thousands of people from a bomb during the 1996 Games before being falsely accused of planting the bomb himself.
There’s no announcements on casting yet, but let’s cross our fingers that an Afro-Latino actor lands the role.