Studios and film crews like to keep productions under wraps as tightly as possible; set visits come at a bit of a premium. However, when the president of the United States requests a visit, chances are it'll be granted. That's what happened this week when Barack Obama requested to stop by the set of "42," the Jackie Robinson biopic currently shooting in Atlanta.
"Well, of course I said it would be OK," said Legendary Entertainment chief Thomas Tull, who says details about the visit will still need to be sorted out. President Obama will be making a visit to Atlanta Tuesday, June 26, for fundraising events.
The project is of keen interest to the president. An avid sports fan, Obama has also noted the importance historic importance of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier in 1947. The president sees Robinson's act of bravery as "laying the groundwork" for him to become the first African American in the Oval Office.
Baseball and history fans are familiar with the story, but it's one worth giving another big screen treatment (Robinson actually played himself in 1950's "The Jackie Robinson Story"). The pioneering ball player's story is one marked by incredible courage and difficulty, and "42" will chronicle that pivotal rookie year with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Brian Hegeland, director of "Payback" and "A Knight's Tale," will direct the film, which will star Chadwick Boseman as Robinson. Boseman will be joined by Harrison Ford, who will play Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers GM who signed Robinson. Other familiar faces include Christopher Meloni, Alan Tudyk, and Lucas Black.
"42," which takes its name from Robinson's jersey number (which has seen been retired league-wide), will debut in theaters April 12, 2013. The movie will emerge a couple of weeks after the start of the MLB season and three days before Jackie Robinson Day, observed each year on April 15 to commemorate Robinson's first game in the major leagues.
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- Jackie Robinson