Alex Rodriguez May Be Cut From Animated Kids Movie 'Henry & Me'
The Yankees third basemen, who is currently on suspension for allegedly using performance-enhancing drugs, could be axed from the film over investor fears his presence will negatively impact profits.
Alex Rodriguez's role in an upcoming kids movie is in danger of being cut.
The baseball player, who is in the midst appealing a 211-game suspension for allegedly using performance-enhancing drugs, has a voice role as himself in the animated movie Henry & Me, about a young Yankees fan named Jack who is overcoming cancer.
The movie was screened to a select group of reporters Wednesday in Midtown Manhattan, where executive producer Ray Negron said that Rodriguez's role could be cut amid investor fears that his presence would negatively impact the marketing and revenue. (Profits from the film will be donated to charities supported by the performers.)
"I love Alex Rodriguez, but I love kids more," Negron was quoted by Newsday as saying. "We just don't want to get caught up with everything that's happening right now. The message that we are trying to relay to kids is too important that we don't want to get caught up with that."
The Yankees third baseman is said to have only a few lines in the hourlong film, but he appears in 49 sequences, including a scene in which he hits a home run with the help of Jack. The movie, which is inspired by the literary works of Negron, special adviser to former owner George M. Steinbrenner III, also is said to chronicle the history of the Yankees. (The film is actually a collaboration between the Yankees and post facility Creative Group).
At the screening, Negron said that Rodriguez would "understand" but hadn't been informed of any changes. He initially said that Rodriguez will be edited out of the final version but later told Newsday that no final decision had been made. The Yankees likely will have a say, although the final call will be made by the movie's eight or nine investors.
Should they decide to remove Rodriguez from the film, the process will take four to six months and "cost a fortune," producer Joseph Avallone said.
"If that's what has to happen here, that's what has to happen here from the standpoint of what's best for the team," Negron said. "The team being children who are going to be seeing this for the rest of their lives."
Several current and former Yankees players make appearances in the animated film, including current manager Joe Girardi, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Reggie Jackson and Yogi Berra. Richard Gere, Chazz Palminteri, Luis Guzman, Danny Aiello, Cyndi Lauper and Paul Simon also voice roles in the movie, along with Yankees broadcasters John Sterling and Michael Kay.
Henry & Me, originally announced as a direct-to-DVD release, is now planned for a limited theatrical run in April. The movie reportedly has been in production for six years.