Skip to main content

Q&A: Chadwick Boseman On Jackie Robinson and 42

  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Jackie Robinson famously broke baseball's color barrier when he made his major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. But it was not an easy journey for the future Hall of Famer. The new movie 42 (which opens on April 12) tells Robinson's story, including all the setbacks and triumphs he faced both on and off the field. SI KIDS caught up with its star, Chadwick Boseman (right), who had the tall order of playing the legendary Robinson.

Q. What did you do to prepare to play baseball like Jackie Robinson?
I just tried to keep it simple. I watched footage of him from the Hall of Fame to see the way he moved, the way he swung, the way he threw. Then it was all about getting coaches and feedback.

Q. How much time was spent working on baseball?
A. We did an extended spring training from January to May. We'd do two-a-day workouts with baseball practice in the morning and conditioning practice in the afternoon. Every two weeks they would film practice and give me a video of my swing, split-screened with his so that I could slow it down [when I watched] and get it as close as possible.

Chadwick Boseman

[Check out which stars played sports figures in other movies!]

Q. Did you play baseball growing up?
A. I never played in high school or college or anything, but I did play Little League. When I knew I might get the role, I started going to batting cages with my friends so that I would be ready to play if I did get it.

Q. Do you watch baseball differently after this experience?
A. You do have a different appreciation for the game; you start to understand the pressure that the real players are under. Once you get a crowd and a crew in the stadium, you start to know what it is like. The difference is, if I mess up we shoot a second take. If they mess up, [the opponents] score.