The creators that made Ray, the biopic of musician Ray Charles, a critical and financial success are back with another biopic, starring a relative newcomer, TV actor Chadwick Boseman as baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who (as everyone knows or should know) was the first black player in Major League Baseball, and became one of the best players of all time. The film is titled simply 42, representing the number worn by Robinson throughout his career, the number retired by the league back in 1997 in honor of Robinson.
Baseball movies have become their own genre, although they dip in and out of other genres more commonly featured here at borg.com from time to time, like the spectacular Kevin Costner fantasy movie Field of Dreams and the magical Robert Redford film The Natural. There is a whole slew of baseball comedies, too many to list, but they include Bull Durham, Major League, The Sandlot, and The Bad News Bears. Most movies we think of as true baseball movies are firmly entrenched as the classic American apple pie movie–these include great biopic films about triumph in the face of adversity and include Eight Men Out with John Cusack, The Pride of the Yankees with Gary Cooper, and last year’s Moneyball with Brad Pitt. 42 looks to be set to fit into this last category.
The Birmingham News reported that Birmingham’s Rickwood Field, the oldest surviving professional baseball field in the U.S., serves as three different fields in 42: Roosevelt Stadium in New Jersey, Forbes Field in Pennsylvania, and as Rickwood Field itself–in a scene recreating the time in 1945 when Jackie Robinson played at Rickwood as a member of the Kansas City Monarchs. To this day Robinson’s number 42 has a place of honor hanging over Royals Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City in honor of Robinson. Interestingly enough Jackie Robinson starred in a 1950 film about himself–The Jackie Robinson Story.
But for anyone that wouldn’t just go to another baseball movie, or see another biopic about a famous sports legend, we have two other reasons that might hook sci-fi fans. First, the credited star of the film is Harrison Ford, now playing his age, as crotchety Brooklyn Dodgers exec Branch Rickey, the guy who signed Robinson into the league. And Firefly fans will get to see one of their favorites once again in a leading film role–Alan Tudyk–who played Wash on that series.
Check out the new trailer for 42:
42 is scheduled to be released in theaters April 12, 2013.