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

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Octavia-Spencer-Hidden-Figures.jpg
Octavia Spencer on Period Pieces: “I don’t come out of the time period; I stay in it”
"I listen to music of the time and I only deal with family and friends that are on the film" - Octavia Spencer
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Tom-Hardy-Taboo.jpg
Tom Hardy on How He Prepared for His Role in ‘Taboo’
"I really think about acting in two different parts. There’s convincing and not convincing acting." - Tom Hardy
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/greta-gerwig.jpg
Greta Gerwig’s Advice to New Actors: “Make your own things”
"When I suddenly feel like I can't find my footing, I listen to a song or look at a photograph or read an essay, and reconnect with what I felt the essence of the character was." - Greta Gerwig
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/viggo-mortensen-captain-fantastic.jpg
Viggo Mortensen on How He Became an Actor
"It didn’t occur to me to try acting it until I was, for an actor, relatively pretty old — 22 or 23." - Viggo Mortensen
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Michael-Fassbender.jpg
Michael Fassbender on Finding a Character: “If I can make them logical to myself, then I apply them, and that’s really it”
Fassbender talks about his parents' concern about his action aspirations and why he reject the idea that he is an "intelligent actor."