Financier makes foray into film

Ted Forstmann, the Wall Street financier whose millions have resurrected the fortunes of such companies as Gulfstream Aerospace, Dr. Pepper and General Instrument, is now setting about resurrecting Ebbetts Field.

Forstmann, who is making his first venture into film production, has purchased the screen rights to “The Boys of Summer,” Roger Kahn’s classic sports tome about the Brooklyn Dodgers of the late 1940s and 1950s. It was during this period that the team went from laughingstocks to champions.

Forstmann has tapped South African producer Anant Singh (“Cry, the Beloved Country”) to handle the physical production of the film, and the book is currently making the rounds to screenwriters.

Pic will be financed by Forstmann and produced under his and Singh’s banner, Pee Wee Prods., named after legendary Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese. A distribution deal is not yet in place.

You gotta have heart

“This is more than a story about baseball,” Forstmann told Daily Variety. ” ‘The Boys of Summer’ is a story of a dying breed of heroes from a disappearing era, when high standards, values, families and communities mattered most.”

“Summer” follows a dedicated group of black and white ballplayers, including Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, Carl Furillo, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella.

According to Singh, the project likely will be shot on location in Brooklyn, with period atmosphere re-created via computer effects. While neither producer has mapped out a potential budget, Singh predicted that the film could run between $20 million and $50 million, likening it in scope and tone to “The Right Stuff” and “Apollo 13.”

Worth the risk

While “Summer” will be Forstmann’s first film, he has Broadway producing experience, having teamed with Cablevision to produce “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” formally at the Minskoff Theater and returning in the fall to the Neil Simon.

Forstmann has been heading up philanthropic causes and is the CEO of Children’s Scholarship Fund. He met Singh through their mutual involvement in the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.

“Summer” will likely be a one-time affair for Forstmann, for he said he does not intend to become a regular film producer.

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