As the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy taught us, 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything else. It’s also the number worn by groundbreaking baseball player Jackie Robinson. What do the two have in common? Well nothing, but I certainly wasn’t going to waste an opportunity to throw some Douglas Adam in an article.
42 is also the title of this new Robinson biopic from writer-direct Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, A Knight’s Tale, Man on Fire) and based on this trailer, this one’s swinging for the fences.
“42” stars Academy Award® nominee Harrison Ford (“What Lies Beneath,” “Air Force One,” “Witness”) as the innovative Dodger’s general manager Branch Rickey, the MLB executive who first signed baseball great Jackie Robinson to the minors and then helped to bring him up to the show, and Chadwick Boseman (“The Express”) as Robinson, the heroic African American who was the first man to break the color line in the big leagues. The film also stars Nicole Beharie (“Shame”) as Rachel Isum, who would become Robinson’s wife, as well as Christopher Meloni (upcoming “Man of Steel”) and T.R. Knight (TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”).
Much has been said over the years about Al Pacino’s ability to shout his way into Oscar contention, and now Harrison Ford appears to be trying something similar by growling his way through his lines. And although you only snippets of him in the trailer, I get the feeling that he may just be onto something here.
Now clearly, baseball doesn’t quite have the following around these parts as it does over in the land of the red, white and blue, and maybe that’s why the first teaser trailer for 42 didn’t quite register on my radar before, but it’s got me interested now. As long as they keep the heavy-handed, syrupy preachings to a minimum, this could be a home-run.