EXCLUSIVE: Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom producer Anant Singh has acquired rights to produce a limited series based on Roger Kahn’s best-selling classic sports novel, The Boys Of Summer. Discussions are underway to attach a writer and production partner.
The book, originally published in 1972, tells the story of the golden years of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Kahn chronicles the lives of the legendary line-up of Pee Wee Reese, Preacher Roe, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, Billy Cox, Carl Furillo, Jackie Robinson and Ro Campanella in the years leading up to, and following, the team’s historic triumph against the New York Yankees in the 1955 World Series.
South Africa-based Singh says, “My friend, the late Wall Street financier, Ted Forstmann, who was passionate about the book, introduced me to the remarkable story of The Boys Of Summer. I knew nothing about baseball, but when I read the book, I immediately saw his vision for a film. The Boys Of Summer is a seminal work by Roger Kahn which is more than just a story of baseball. It’s a human story that tells of sports heroes in the post-World War II era when family values and the spirit of community mattered most. This is so needed, especially in our society today.”
While the story is set against the world of baseball, the canvas more largely covers American social change, corporate greed and cultural identity. It follows a group of mismatched talents thrown together in a racial experiment — the integration of national baseball — but who go on, through both internal and external strife, to become the best team in the nation.
The limited series is envisioned as a look at the characters, their lives, families and the impact historical events had upon them. And where it left them — one top player, for example, ended up being a security guard at the World Trade Center.
Singh calls the series development “testament to Forstmann’s vision of bringing to life one of the greatest books on American sports history.”