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Harrison Ford Sought To Play Branch Rickey In Legendary’s Jackie Robinson Biopic

Written by on December 8, 2011 

Yeah, I can see it. Harrison Ford is the first choice to play Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey in the Jackie Robinson biopic 42, directed by Brian Helgeland [Deadline]. The film will tell the story of Robinson, the first African-American integrated into Major League Baseball, and Rickey, who trailed-blazed against the old guard of racism owners and managers.

For as long as anyone can remember, this project has been in place in some form, with Robert Redford long the first choice to play Rickey.

Now Redford’s 75 years old. Ford’s 69 years young. Alright, so not that big an age difference but the former does look considerably older than the latter. Legendary Pictures is producing the picture, with no word yet on who’ll be cast in the role of Robinson. It’s an interesting choice for Helgeland, a man who’s name isn’t househeld but perhaps should be. He’s spent his career churning out screenplays for some of the most critically-acclaimed films of the last two decades (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River) and some of the worst (The Postman, The Order). In the awards season of 1998, he accepted both an Oscar for L.A. Confidential and a Razzie for The Postman.

His directing career has been far more brief, offering the fun, violent retro-noir Payback, then the fun, not-so-violent A Knight’s Tale. And then…he directed The Order (the same as shown above), and hasn’t directed a film since. 42 can’t come fast enough for either of these guys.

It’s safe to say both Ford and Helgeland both need a handsome, high-profile project to put them back on top (Ford’s last was the underperforming Cowboys & Aliens, Helgeland’s last script the underperforming Robin Hood). Ford’s also being swooned for a key role in the recently-reinvigorated Ender’s Game film adaptation, to be directed by Gavin Hood.

Which project would you more like to see Ford in? Ender’s Game or 42?

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