Harrison Ford on Playing the Real-Life Branch Rickey in Jackie Robinson Biopic ’42’

  • Pin It

harrison-ford-42It’s almost impossible to believe that Harrison Ford is now seventy and is now a regular in “older men” roles.  But the seemingly ageless Ford has put Indiana Jones behind him (well, most hope) in order to appear in more dramatic roles, such as the Jackie Robinson biopic 42

Ford stars as Branch Rickey, the general manager who initially signed Robinson to a minor league contract and later called him to the major leagues, making Robinson the first professional African-American baseball player in the modern era.  Ford speaks to USA Today about playing Rickey and the challenge of playing a historical figure.

To begin with, Ford understands the magnitude of the historical importance of the man he is portraying.  On Branch Rickey and the decision that changed professional sports in America forever, Ford notes, “The more research I did, the more impressed I was… This isn’t a history lesson or a Sunday school sermon. What interested me was their relationship. They had these indomitable spirits, but very disparate personalities.”

Because Ford usually stars as fictional characters, to play Rickey he approached the role differently than usual.  First, he conducted extensive research.  He explains, “Anything I could find, I used.  I discovered he did things too numerous to count.” 

He also consulted with Ben Kingsley, who plays real-life figures more often (and won an Oscar for his acting in the title role of 1982’s Gandhi).  As a result, Ford believes there are two ways to approach acting as a historical figure, pointing out, “One way is to confine yourself to represent a real person in a narrow vein. The other is to use it as an opportunity.”  He admits that Kingsley directed him to the second way, adding, “He said it’s an opportunity to use the (real) man as a mask that tells the truth. That’s what I wanted to do.”

1 Comment

  1. abdul halidov

    April 9, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    he is 1 of our finest actors!

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/dianne-wiest-the-humbling.jpg
Two-Time Oscar Winner Dianne Wiest on the Lack of Work for Older Actresses: “I have to move out of my apartment soon”
Whether it’s because of the lack of acting roles for older actresses or if it’s because the shine eventually wears off on many Oscar winners, there are many once-acclaimed actresses who struggle to find meaningful work when they are middle aged and older. According to two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest, her lack of work in […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/jk-simmons-whiplash.jpg
A Conversation with J.K. Simmons: ‘Whiplash’, His Career and More
Simmons talks about his career in detail, including how taken he was with the Whiplash screenplay by writer/director Damien Chazelle and how much he believed in the project
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/bradley-cooper-american-sniper.jpg
Bradley Cooper’s Physical Transformation in ‘American Sniper': “It changes the way you walk, the way people relate to you”
American Sniper continues to heat up the box office as well as Bradley Cooper‘s already hot career. To play the role of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the actor had to bulk up quite a bit to make his portrayal believable. “I had to get to the point where I believed I was him,” Cooper says. […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/watch-al-pacino-talks-the-humbli.jpg
Watch: Al Pacino Talks ‘The Humbling’ and His Extraordinary Career
In this conversation with Al Pacino talks about his role in The Humbling -- including working with Greta Gerwig -- and his historic acting career
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/watch-oscar-nominee-steve-carell.jpg
Watch: Oscar Nominee Steve Carell Talks Improv, Auditioning for ‘The Office’ and ‘Foxcatcher’
Carell talks about his entire career as an actor, including his background in improv, how he landed the Michael Scott role on The Office, and Foxcatcher