EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures is courting Harrison Ford to play Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey in 42, the Brian Helgeland-directed chronicle of how Rickey and Jackie Robinson eradicated segregation in baseball in 1947. Helgeland has written a script after Legendary jump-started a long dormant project in collaboration with Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson. The film’s being produced by Legendary’s Thomas Tull with Jon Jashni and Dick Cook exec producing. The film will be released by Warner Bros.
Numerous top actors have been mentioned for the Rickey role, including Robert Redford, who was attached a decade ago when the project was first contemplated. Now, it looks like it’s Ford’s role if he wants it, and while he has been mentioned for a number of projects including Ender’s Game, here he would be playing the man who with Robinson was the catalyst for the most groundbreaking event to occur in sports in the 20th century.
It wasn’t enough to decide to break baseball’s color line; Rickey had to search for the right player and qualities that went beyond hitting, fielding, speed and a throwing arm. The first player had to be able to withstand the hostilities from bigots and segregationists not only in the stands, but in the dugouts as well. He found that player in Robinson, a star for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues who had the iron will to take the abuse without losing his composure.