Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman bring the compelling, true-life story of baseball legend Jackie Robinson to life in 42, in theaters Friday, and Ford explains how he transformed his physicality to play Brooklyn Dodgers president and general manager Branch Rickey, while Boseman had to up his game to accurately portray Robinson's style on the field.
"There were personal characteristics [of Rickey] which, as an actor, were fun to have the opportunity to have in my kit of tools, but what was most important to me was his part in the telling of the story overall," Ford tells ET at the Sports Museum of Los Angeles, where the spirit of Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers is very present.
Ford wore a fat suit, sported some very bushy eyebrows and even shaved back and dyed his hairline to help disappear into the role: "There would have been no utility in having Harrison Ford in this movie, so I tried to not have the audience bring any previous experience with me into this occasion."
The forward-thinking Rickey hired Jackie Robinson with the full intention to break the Major League Baseball color line in 1947, and the ball player was required to exercise tremendous courage and restraint in the face of overwhelming prejudice and bigotry.
"Racism is not completely dead; the dragon is not slayed yet," says Boseman, who explains that it wasn't too difficult to get into the mindset of Robinson given the help of period flourishes in the production design around him coupled with repeated takes in scenes where his character faces overt racism.
As for the physicality of his role, Boseman had the help of Braves baseball legend Hank Aaron as an advisor on the shoot, and studied Robinson's every move on split-screen comparisons with his own movements.