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WB Sets Release Date For Jackie Robinson Biopic Starring Chadwick Boseman, Nicole Beharie

by Tambay A. Obenson
April 23, 2012 6:49 PM
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Chadwick boseman

WB has set an official release date for 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic that Brian Helgeland and Legendary Pictures are developing.

The film will be in theaters about a year from now, April 12, 2013.

Relative newcomer Chadwick Boseman (who's worked primarily in television on shows like FringeJustified and Castle) is all set to play Jackie Robinson in the film, with Nicole Beharie as Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, née Rachel Isum.

Also Harrison Ford will play the role of Branch Rickey in the filmthe Brooklyn Dodgers' manager who made history by signing Robinson as the first black player in the history of the Major League Baseball organization.

Brian Helgeland will direct from a script he also wrote, which will tell Robinson's story, as the first African-American to play in the major leagues.

As I noted in a previous post, I really dig this casting; Helgeland went with young, promising Actors (emphasis mine). Neither is what you'd call an A-lister, or a *name.* A rarity when it comes to casting films with black casts. Helgeland could have gone with a rapper and a singer instead, but he didn't.

Just had to throw that last sentence in there :)


The film is listed as being in pre-production currently.

And let's not forget that a Hank Aaron biopic is also in development.

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  • Orville | April 25, 2012 2:54 PMReply

    Misha, you say that it isn't about sex but it seems to me male athletes are treated with more respect than female athletes. Althea Gibson was more groundbreaking than Jackie Robinson. People from across the world KNEW Althea Gibson. She was dominant in the late 1950s she was the best female tennis player in the world. She won five grand slam singles titles including Wimbledon, French Open, and the US Open. I get it, Jackie Robinson was an American hero but in terms of being groundbreaking Althea broke an international barrier. She got to shake the hand of Queen Elizabeth after she won Wimbledon in 1957 for the first time. Althea was the first black person allowed to compete at Wimbledon because blacks were barred from competing prior to her. Gibson also broke down racial barriers she was the first black woman to compete at the US OPEN in the 1950s and she won the US OPEN.

  • Nadine | April 25, 2012 3:21 PM

    ...she also played for the Harlem Globetrotters after retiring from tennis and integrated the LPGA...

  • Jayson Jay | April 24, 2012 2:44 PMReply

    As far as bios I'd like to see Sam Cooke and Ethel Waters two of the first and least known Af Am Mega Stars. Donald Bogle's bio of Waters was sensational btw.

  • Jayson Jay | April 24, 2012 2:39 PMReply

    I imagine when some Black women get out there and raise some money they can tell any story they want to.

  • Michon Boston | April 24, 2012 6:57 AMReply

    Chadwick Boseman is a gem. He played Tommy in my Ida B. Wells biopic play "Iola's Letter" when he was a student at Howard. Great to work with. The audience loved him. I always believed there were great things ahead of him.

  • JMac | April 23, 2012 10:16 PMReply

    They're supposed to be shooting the film not far from me... may just mosey on down there when they start. Although, it wouldn't surprise me if Harrison Ford's character is the real "star" of the movie.

  • Miles Ellison | April 23, 2012 8:33 PMReply

    In light of the controversies surrounding proposed films involving B.B. King and ODB, let's just hope that this film isn't actually from the perspective of the Dodgers' white bat boy.

  • AccidentalVisitor | April 23, 2012 9:50 PM

    What's the deal with the ODB movie?

  • Orville | April 23, 2012 7:29 PMReply

    Why does a biopic always have to be about a black man? Why can't a studio make a biopic about a black woman? I think Althea Gibson was more groundbreaking than Jackie Robinson to be honest. Gibson was the first black woman to win Wimbledon in 1957 and she won again in 1958. She also reached number one in the world and she won the French Open in 1956. Also, Althea won the US OPEN as well. Gibson was also the first black woman to compete on the women's golf tour.

  • misha | April 23, 2012 8:33 PM

    Orville, not sure why you are making this a battle of the sexes. I love Althea Gibson and would love to see her story told but comparing her to Robinson isn't necessary nor is it really a fair comparison. Fact is, Robinson had one of the biggest impacts in all of sport and is one of the most known/recognizable American sports figures in history. Hence, why his story is being told on the big screen. Sadly, Althea broke ground in a sport that was never as popular as "America's Pastime" and she was never as dominate as the Williams sisters are today, so her story would be a harder sell. That's really what it's about in this case.

  • Ali | April 23, 2012 8:32 PM

    These women aren't talked about or given any credit anywhere. Can we get them in school history books and finally give them their due...let alone a major motion picture?

  • Nadine | April 23, 2012 7:34 PM

    ...because the film would not be received or believed to be mainstream if focused on a Black woman. Wasn't there talk of Barbara Jordan, though? The way these people hate Venus and Serena Williams...please... maybe a TV ONE original movie...

  • Aaorn | April 23, 2012 7:05 PMReply

    Damn, and as hard as Spike Lee wanted was fighting to make this film. But heck, at least it's being done!

  • Nadine | April 23, 2012 6:59 PMReply

    "Helgeland could have gone with a rapper and a singer instead, but he didn't" ... Maybe there is hope after all.

  • Donella | April 23, 2012 6:51 PMReply

    There's a resemblance.

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