UPDATE: Legendary Pictures has sent out a press release both confirming the casting of Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, which was rumored earlier today. Read the original story below and see the press release below it!
How do you find the right actor to play Jackie Robinson in a biopic? A while back you could have had either Will Smith or Denzel Washington do it, but considering Robinson was 28 when he broke the color barrier and Smith and Washington are 43 and 56, respectively, that's just not going to work. There's also the issue of finding an actor who can disappear into the role be Jackie Robinson instead of just playing him. Given those factors, the best bet would probably to find a talented up-and-comer to take the role, and that's exactly what's happening with Legendary Pictures' 42.
Chadwick Boseman is now in final talks to take the role of the legendary baseball player, according to Variety. While the project won't be his first film role - he recently wrapped production on an action movie called The Kill Hole for writer-director Mischa Webley and played Floyd Little in The Express - most of Boseman's experience has been on television, with single episode appearances on shows like Fringe, Justified, Castle, and The Glades. He also played in Christopher McQuarrie's miniseries Persons Unknown as Graham McNair. The Robinson biopic will be written and directed by Brian Helgeland, who is best known for scripting the Oscar-winning screenplay for L.A. Confidential.
I can't say that I'm all too familiar with Boseman's work, but he looks the part and this is a part that can really launch his career. The story of Jackie Robinson is probably the most iconic and easily the most important in baseball history, as it not only changed the sport but had a major impact on the civil rights movement. I look forward to seeing what he can do.
LEGENDARY PICTURES ANNOUNCES TWO MAJOR JACKIE ROBINSON MOVIE CASTINGS: CHADWICK BOSEMAN IS JACKIE ROBINSON AND HARRISON FORD IS BRANCH RICKEY
BOSEMAN TO STAR AS MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL ICON JACKIE ROBINSON, FORD TO PORTAY RENOWNED BASEBALL EXECUTIVE BRANCH RICKEY
Burbank, CA – December 9, 2011 – Legendary Pictures announced today that it has cast Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford to star in the company’s film based upon history’s most celebrated baseball figure, Jackie Robinson.
Boseman will depict the iconic baseball star, paying tribute to the legacy and impact Robinson made when he became the first African American Major League Baseball player.
Ford will star as Branch Rickey, the innovative Major League Baseball executive who is best known for breaking MLB’s color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson to a minor league contract in 1945. Two years later, at the start of the 1947 major league baseball season, Robinson was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers major league baseball team with the help of Rickey. Rickey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.
Chadwick Boseman is best known for his performance in Universal Pictures’ THE EXPRESS. Boseman also just completed a lead in the independent feature KILL HOLE. On television he was a regular on the NBC series Persons Unknown. He is represented by Michael Greene at Greene & Associates, and Melanie Cook of Ziffren Brittenham.
Ford most recently starred in COWBOYS & ALIENS and is best known for starring in the INDIANA JONES and STAR WARS franchises as well as AIR FORCE ONE and THE FUGITIVE. Ford was a Best Actor Oscar® nominee for his role in the 1985 feature film WITNESS. Ford is represented by Jim Berkus at United Talent Agency and Skip Brittenham of Ziffren Brittenham.
Brian Helgeland (LA CONFIDENTIAL / MYSTIC RIVER) will write and direct, with Legendary’s Chairman and CEO, Thomas Tull, producing, and Legendary’s Chief Creative Officer and President, Jon Jashni, serving as executive producer. Dick Cook, former Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, will also serve as an executive producer. Legendary worked early on in development with Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, to ensure the movie adaptation of the famed player’s story is authentic.