EXCLUSIVE: Baseball icon Roberto Clemente is getting the biopic treatment from producer Jonah Hirsch (Resistance: 1942, First) and actor/producer AJ Muñoz in collaboration with the Clemente family. The as-yet-untitled film will be based on the family’s best-selling book Clemente: The True Legacy of an Undying Hero.
The announcement comes on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Pirates MLB All-Star’s passing, and the recent news of select Florida schools removing books on Clemente’s life.
The film will showcase Clemente’s rise to greatness against all odds and tell his inspirational life story inclusive of both his baseball career as well as his fight for Latin American equality and social justice.
By acquiring the life rights to Clemente as well as the family-authored book, Hirsch and Muñoz alongside the legend’s sons Roberto Clemente Jr. and Luis Roberto Clemente will serve as executive producers on the project.
“I recall sitting in a meeting with our mother in the summer of 1974 about making this film, and there have been plenty of announcements over the past 50 years including major players in the industry, but nothing ever got done. Now, for the first time, we feel we found the right partners. Clemente fans have been waiting a long time for this film and we will make sure that it was worth the wait.” Roberto Clemente, Jr. said in a statement.
Luis Clemente adds, “My brother and I are very excited about this partnership since our family book will be used to tell dad’s story through our personal experiences and immediate family memories. I’m truly looking forward to working with Jonah and AJ to present this story to new generations to be inspired and to share unknown stories with the fans who will learn even more about the ‘Great One.'”
Clemente is a legendary figure in Latin American culture, having been a 15-time All-Star Major League Baseball player as well as an advocate and a humanitarian. Across his 18-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was awarded the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1966 and won four National League batting titles. He was also the first non-white recipient of the National League Gold Glove Award and finished his playing career with exactly 3,000 hits.
As well as being known for his contributions to baseball history, Clemente was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his humanitarian work.
“At a time when most heroes are fictional characters, we couldn’t think of a better time to elevate and reintroduce Clemente’s heroic story to a new generation,” Hirsch and Muñoz said in a joint statement.
Muñoz and his childhood friend Abe Mata, in partnership with Hirsch, established the production company Dreams Are Free around the Clemente story, which will serve as their first signature film with other Latino-driven projects in active development.
The Clemente Family is represented by CMG Worldwide.
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