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12/09/11 8:33 PM EST

Jackie Robinson movie to star Ford, Boseman

One of baseball's most inspirational stories will soon have a powerful cast to bring it to life.

Legendary Pictures announced Friday that it has cast Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey and Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson in an upcoming film about the ballplayer-turned-civil rights icon. Brian Helgeland, the author of "L.A. Confidential" and "Mystic River," has been tabbed to write and direct the story about Robinson famously breaking baseball's color barrier in 1947.

Ford, the star of the long-running "Indiana Jones" franchise and an Academy Award Best Actor nominee in 1985 for the feature film "Witness," will bring his considerable weight to Rickey's role. Rickey, a Hall of Fame executive, is best known for bringing Robinson to the big leagues and changing baseball forever, but he's also received credit for all but creating the modern-day Minor League farm system.

Boseman, who portrayed former NFL running back Floyd Little in the 2008 biopic "The Express" about Syracuse star Ernie Davis, has done a lot of work on television and will star in the upcoming feature "Kill Hole." Boseman, a Brooklyn native, is best known for his work on programs "Lincoln Heights" and "Persons Unknown."

Robinson, a multi-sport athete at UCLA and an Army veteran during World War II, first achieved prominence when Rickey signed him to a Minor League contract in 1945. Two years later, he was promoted to the big league club and had to endure countless acts of discrimination.

Robinson, who went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award and later was named the National League's Most Valuable Player, spent 10 seasons with the Dodgers and helped his team win the World Series in 1955. Robinson retired before the 1957 season and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.

Major League Baseball has recognized his importance to the game by establishing a holiday in his honor -- Jackie Robinson Day, held every year on April 15, the anniversary of his debut -- and by taking the unprecedented step of retiring his uniform number throughout the league.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.