EXCLUSIVE: Producer Joel B. Michaels has entered into an agreement with the family of Fritz Pollard to bring to the screen the life story of the pro football phenom who blazed a trail to become the first professional Black NFL player. Pollard was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame posthumously in 2005.
Pollard’s life story is an American biographical drama set against the backdrop of the “New Negro Movement” and the Roaring ’20s. In 1920, he became the first Black athlete to gain national notoriety by breaking the racial barrier in professional sports in America. He would go on to lead Brown University to play in the inaugural Rose Bowl game in 1916, and in 1920 he signed a pro contract and lead the Akron Pros to win the first NFL championship.
He went on to become the first Black NFL quarterback and the first Black NFL coach, all while becoming a business mogul and working with celebrities including Nat King Cole, Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald.
Corey McGowan and Connor Martin, who brought in the story, will serve as producers alongside Michaels.
Michaels is preparing the remakes of The Changeling and The Silent Partner. He is repped by attorney Thomas F. Hunter.