Harrison Ford is Harrison Ford because he made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, raced Nazis for lost treasure, and got the best of vengeful terrorists no matter the odds. Ford has been a movie star of the brightest magnitude for nearly 40 years, and not unlike Gary Cooper and Clint Eastwood, he is most popular when he plays a version of his most heroic action-adventure characters. But this year, Ford went in another direction. In 42, the story of Jackie Robinson, he put on a fat-suit, wore a dowdy bow-tie, hid behind some facial prosthetics, and traded his iconic voice for a scholarly growl to play Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ executive who expedited the integration of Major League Baseball.
You might think someone of Ford’s pedigree can land any role he wants, but even at the height of his stardom, character roles like Rickey were not frequently available to him. “When I would occasionally suggest blurring the edges of the movie-star personality, it was often rejected,” says Ford. “If I wanted to wear a mustache or a beard, they’d say, ‘No, no, no, we paid for the face. We want to see you.’ But I was always anxious to play characters. That’s why when I was offered the first Jack Ryan movie, I said I think the script is great, but I’d rather play the Russian guy [ultimately played by Sean Connery] than Jack Ryan. They said, ‘Oh, no, no, no.’”
Not much had changed when 42‘s writer and director Brian Helgeland was casting Rickey, the supporting character in his modestly-budgeted sports film. READ FULL STORY