The tentacles of the Alex Rodriguez saga have extended into the film world.
A children's movie named "Henry & Me" is scheduled for a limited theatrical release in April, but Rodriguez's heroic role in the animated film about a young Yankees fan overcoming cancer may not make the cut.
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Producers have been wrestling with the dilemma of whether a movie intended to inspire children can feature a player who has been at the center of two performance-enhancing drug scandals.
Executive producer Ray Negron initially told Newsday that Rodriguez's parts will be edited out of the final version, but then said later Wednesday that the final decision had yet to be made.
The film has been in production for six years and it will be costly and time-consuming to replace Rodriguez's 49 sequences, which includes a game-winning grand slam in the climactic scene.
"I love Alex Rodriguez, but I love kids more," Negron said. "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 movie is dedicated to George Steinbrenner, and his son, Hank, provided the voice of the late Yankees owner's character. The Yankees have no creative control, but Negron has worked with the organization for over 40 years and clearly is sensitive to the considerations of the Steinbrenners. Negron referenced George Steinbrenner trading personal favorite Bobby Murcer as a guide for making difficult decisions.
"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."
A number of current and former Yankees, including Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra and Mariano Rivera, provided their voices to the 60-minute film, although none has a bigger role than Rodriguez. But as Rodriguez faces banishment from baseball, his character in the movie may face a similar fate.
Also lending their voices to the movie, which is based on children's books written by Negron, are Richard Gere, Chazz Palminteri, Luiz Guzman, Danny Aiello, Cyndi Lauper and Paul Simon.
With David Lennon