Jackie Robinson made history when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, breaking the color barrier for the first time in Major League Baseball history. And now, history will be made again, as the first film about his triumph since 1950’s “The Jackie Robinson Story” (starring Robinson as himself) is about to break out of the ballpark and into theaters everywhere.
The first full trailer for “42,” director Brian Helgeland’s take on the Robinson legend, landed online on Thursday (September 20) with a first look at relative unknown Chadwick Boseman as the groundbreaking slugger. But what’s supposed to be an uplifting story starts on a tense note — appropriate enough given the climate of the times the movie is set in — as Robinson takes a long walk down a hall toward his team’s dugout, and eventually onto the field itself.
“I don’t know who he is, or where he is,” a low voice growls over the far-off sounds of cheering from the stands, and heavy breathing from Robinson himself. “But he’s coming.”
From there, the trailer shows a world steeped in segregation, where bathrooms and seating areas and more are assigned by skin color. It’s not a world that sits well with Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, played here by Harrison Ford. It’s a world that he wants to change.
“The world’s not so simple anymore. I guess it never was,” Rickey says with Ford’s signature grit. “We ignored it. Now we can’t.”
Enter Robinson. The legendary athlete is seen in numerous scenes from his early childhood to his first days in the major leagues, while Jay-Z and Santigold’s “Brooklyn Go Hard” blares in the background. And the going is very hard indeed for Robinson, who finds himself beaned in the face by a deliberately aimed pitch, a clear signal that he’s unwanted in this game.
“You want a player who doesn’t have the guts to fight back?” Robinson angrily asks Rickey about his place in this world.
“No,” Rickey responds. “I want a player who has the guts not to fight back.”
“You give me a uniform, you give me a number on my back — and I’ll give you the guts,” is Robinson’s solemn reply.
“42” hits theaters on April 12, 2013.
Check out everything we’ve got on “42.”