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/2015/06/channing-tatum-magic-mike-xxl.jpg
Channing Tatum’s Reddit AMA Covered Everything from ‘Magic Mike XXL’, His “Bad” Acting in ‘Step Up’ and Frozen Poop
"I do get nervous to act, it kind of depends on what it is really." - Channing Tatum
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/true-detective-taylor-kitsch.jpg
Taylor Kitsch on Living Up to Season One of ‘True Detective’ and Sleeping on New York City Subways
"I had someone very close to me say to me that hopefully I’ll have many more ups and downs, not in just my career but in life. If you don’t have that, you’re not taking enough risks." - Taylor Kitsch
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Sutton-Foster-Younger.jpg
Sutton Foster Talks Ageism and Her Need To Be Creative
"Even when I’m not working, I’m still working on something because I just want to create something." - Sutton Foster
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/brian-wilson-paul-dano-love-and-mercy.jpg
Paul Dano on Playing Beach Boy Brian Wilson: “I’ll probably never find a better acting job”
"Learning to play Brian’s songs, without question, brought me closer to the character." - Paul Dano on playing Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/david-oyelowo-nightingale.jpg
David Oyelowo On Why He Became A Method Actor
“You can’t afford for there to be gaps in your pool of knowledge when it comes to a character, otherwise what ends up onscreen is generalized and unspecific" - David Oyelowo