Brooklyn Dodgers legend and Rookie of the Year, MVP and Cy Young Award winner Don Newcombe joins actors Harrison Ford and Chadwick Boseman on Studio 42 with Bob Costas this weekend on MLB Network to discuss his former teammate Jackie Robinson and the Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures presentation of "42," a Legendary Pictures Production.
(Don Newcombe, Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford and Bob Costas at Dodger Stadium)
Taped at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles last week, Newcombe comments on Robinson both on and off the baseball diamond, while Boseman, who portrays Robinson, and Ford, who plays Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, talk about what drew them to the film and how they prepared to play such larger-than-life characters. Boseman details his Spring Training-like practices and Ford describes studying Rickey’s mannerisms by watching his appearance on an episode of the game show “What’s My Line?” in 1959.
Studio 42 with Bob Costas will air this Saturday, April 13 at 1:00 p.m. (Pacific) and on Sunday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific) The film “42” is in theaters nationwide Friday, April 12.
Highlights from this episode of Studio 42 with Bob Costas include:
Newcombe on Robinson:
He was not the greatest baseball player to ever play baseball, but he became a legend in baseball with his talent. He had the greatest reflexes of any human being I’ve ever seen on a baseball field. He could do things that I’ve never seen anybody else do yet in all of those years. Willie Mays and all of them couldn’t do what Jackie could do on a baseball field. … In a rundown, he had nine baseball players one day chasing him down the third base line trying to catch him and they never did catch him. Nine! [Embeddable video of this excerpt available here.]
Newcombe on Robinson’s legacy:
Jackie said, “We’re bitter now, but we’re going to change one letter in the word bitter. We’re going to change the “I” to “E” and things are going to get better. We have to make it work though. We have to make it work,” and we did make it work. We made history. We made baseball what it is today in a very big way, but we still haven’t reached the point where we need to be.
Boseman on why the movie was made:
When [Legendary Pictures CEO] Thomas Tull talks about why he wanted to do the film, he says that he was doing an event with some kids with Ken Griffey, Jr. and they brought up Jackie Robinson, and they didn’t know who he was. Ken Griffey turns to him and says, “You know, we have to do something about that.”
Boseman on the importance of playing Jackie Robinson:
That set in for me that I am responsible for … portraying all of the characteristics and qualities and principles that the man lived under. I also knew that there were a lot of people who viewed him as a hero, that know him very well, and would be let down if I didn’t live up to those expectations.
Boseman on how he prepared to imitate Robinson’s style of play:
I was provided his Hall of Fame footage by Major League Baseball and I was given coaches. We basically had a Spring Training from the middle of January to May, in which I came, went to practice five days a week in the morning and we also had conditioning sessions later in the day … I was like a professional player, treated like that.
Ford on Branch Rickey:
He was a dramatic character. He had a real sense of drama and baseball is drama. He had a style and that was one of the joys of playing him. He’s a larger-than-life character.
Ford on researching Rickey’s mannerisms:
One of the most telling things I saw was an old kinescope of him appearing on “What’s My Line?” … Just after the show was over, he walked from the place where he sat as a “mystery guest” and greeted the panelists on his way off stage, and from that I got the essence of the man, the courtliness, the gentility, the way he moved. You know, a picture’s worth a thousand words and a lot of those pictures helped inform me.
Newcombe on Boseman’s and Ford’s portrayals in the film:
I’m so proud to see this young man [Boseman] perform the way he did, emulating my great idol named Jackie Robinson, my teammate, my ex-roommate, my golfing buddy … When I first saw Harrison, I said, “What is Branch Rickey doing up on that screen?” He looks so much like him and he performed like him and I said, “My God, what do they do in the movie business, they make it almost real.” I’m proud of the both of them.