MLB, Movies

You can now read Spike Lee’s unproduced Jackie Robinson film script

As we try to get through quarantine and social distancing, Spike Lee has unearthed the script to a film he never made.

Spike Lee is an accomplished filmmaker, and one of his best is, Malcolm X. Turns out he could have teamed up with Denzel Washington again a few years later, but as Lee said on Sunday, “Denzel said he was too old” to play the title role in the subsequent project.

As the coronavirus pandemic pushes the world into quarantine, Lee has unveiled the full 159-page fifth draft of his script for a film about Jackie Robinson. The film about the man who broke MLB’s color barrier was never made but you can read the script in full here.

The source material for Lee’s script is Robinson’s autobiography “I Never Had It Made.” With no baseball being played right now, the book itself is probably an especially worthy read for fans.

Hunkered down in Brooklyn, Lee posted on Instagram to announce the unveiling. A huge framed poster for the Alfred E. Green directed The Jackie Robinson Story from 1950, which starred the man himself, is behind him in the shot from his couch.

“I pulled this script out of the vault and so, I’d like to share the script with you…”

“And also, don’t worry about it if you don’t like baseball or sports…”

“This is a great American story.”

“Hope you enjoy it,” Lee concludes of the pages of the unrealized Jackie Robinson movie. “If you don’t, that’s alright too. It’s never getting made, but I wanted to share this script with you. Be safe.”

We have of course seen another Jackie Robinson film, 2013’s 42 starring Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as the venerable and forward-thinking Branch Rickey. A Lee treatment of the man and broader subject material would have been interesting to see, but at least it’s out there to be read for those who are so inclined now.

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