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

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

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/alex-sharp-curious-incident-of-the-dog.jpg
Alex Sharp Talks About His Broadway Debut in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (video)
Alex Sharp went from working in a call-center and renovating houses to going to Julliard. And now, he’s starring in one of the most talked about shows of the season, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Check out this great, inspiring video!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Its-only-a-play.jpg
Watch a Scene From Terrance McNally’s, ‘It’s Only a Play’, Featuring Nathan Lane and Micah Stock
Here’s a quick scene from Terrance McNally‘s It’s Only a Play, currently on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theater. In this scene, Nathan Lane and Micah Stock meet for the first time. The show, about the opening night of a new play, also stars Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, Rupert Grint and Megan Mullally.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/birdman-director-alejandro-g-ina.jpg
‘Birdman’ Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu Narrates a Scene from the Film Featuring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton
Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu narrates a scene from Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance that features stars Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. The film is wonderful and if it’s playing in your town, definitely check it out!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/the-cast-of-mad-men-on-the-final.jpg
The Cast of ‘Mad Men’ on the Final Season and More
Though the AMC television series Mad Men might not carry the same cultural weight that it did a few years ago (splitting your final season over two years might do that to you), the second half of the show’s final season is expected to be full of powerful performances from its ensemble cast. With the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/behind-the-scenes-of-a-sex-scene.jpg
Behind the Scenes of a Sex Scene with Patrick Wilson, Brooklyn Decker and Director Joe Carnahan
Director Joe Carnahan is giving viewers an inside look at what it is like to film a big screen Hollywood sex scene, as confirmed by Gawker. Carnahan released a brief video clip taken from the set of his latest film Stretch starring supermodel and actress Brooklyn Decker and Patrick Wilson. The video showcases the two […]