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Warner Bros. releases poster for ‘42’

Posted Feb 8, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 09:18 PM

Warner Bros. has released the first advance poster for the movie “42,” the biography of Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. That made me go the Warner Bros. website to check out the actors for the movie, which will debut in theaters on April 12.

The film will star Chadwick Boseman in the lead role as Robinson. Boseman has had several television and movie roles. He once appeared in an episode of the soap opera “All My Children.” More recently, he had parts in TV series like “Castle,” “Persons Unknown,” and “Lincoln Heights.” His last film role was as Lt. Samuel Drake in the 2012 film, “The Kill Hole.”

I was kind of surprised that Harrison Ford was going to play the part of Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, only because I didn’t think Ford could be made up to look as jowly as the Mahatma. But it looks like he is going to pull it off. He’s not quite a dead ringer, but only because Ford did not put on the weight to look as portly as Rickey was. So, it’s a thinner version of Rickey, but complete with the jowls, bushy eyebrows, hat and ever-present cigar. Even his voice is gravelly. I was impressed.

Christopher Meloni, who played detective Elliot Stabler on the television series “Law & Order:  Special Victims Unit,” plays the part of Brooklyn manager Leo Durocher. Meloni either shaved the top of his head or had some great makeup work done to resemble the balding Durocher, but in the trailer he too, looks rather convincing.

Every film has a villain, of course, and one of the big ones will be Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman. This serious and intense role will be filled by Alan Tudyk, who played a much lighter role as Steve the Pirate in the 2004 film “Dodgeball.” (“In exchange for your kindness, I’ll be sharing me buried treasure with ya … once I find it, that be.”). Chapman was a racist and one of the most vocal critics against blacks in baseball.

Brooklyn outfielder Dixie Walker, who circulated a petition to keep Robinson off the Dodgers , will be played by Ryan Merriman, while team captain Pee Wee Reese, who befriended Robinson, will be played by Lucas Black.

Films sometimes take creative license, and I imagine this film will, too. I was curious about one scene where a Pirates pitcher hits Robinson in the head during a game at Forbes Field. So I went to and checked out the 1947 season. Robinson was hit by a pitch nine times during his rookie season (and I am sure ducked out of the way of many others), but only once at Forbes Field. That took place on May 17, with Fritz Ostermuller hitting him in the first inning. Robinson was actually hit in the elbow, and not the head, with that pitch, but hey, why destroy the drama?

Hopefully the film producers fast-forwarded to Sept. 17, when Robinson tagged Ostermuller for a solo homer in the fourth inning.

It looks like an interesting movie. If you’re interested in more information, here is the link to the movie trailer:

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