Chadwick Boseman stars as Jackie Robinson in "42." (Associated Press )
Baseball icon and Brooklyn Dodgers star Jackie Robinson never played for the franchise in Los Angeles, but marketing and outreach efforts tied to a forthcoming biographical film about the famed second baseman are tapping the L.A. team.
The move by Warner Bros., which is distributing "42," makes sense. Robinson, universally revered for breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, is a key part of the Dodgers' history. And the team's home is right in Warner Bros.' backyard.
"42," which was directed by Brian Helgeland from a screenplay he wrote, will be released April 12. The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, the Dodgers general manager who signed the baseball player to the team. Legendary Pictures produced and financed the movie.
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So far, the outreach and promotion has occurred behind the scenes. On March 11, Dodgers star Matt Kemp hosted a screening of "42" in Glendale, Ariz., not far from the team's spring training facility. More than 300 big league players, staff and their families and minor league players attended. On March 22, Warner Bros. screened the film for Dodgers front office staff.
A few days after the release of the movie, Major League Baseball will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, an annual occurrence on April 15, the day that Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Warner Bros. will be a presenting sponsor of the celebration at Dodger Stadium that day, with actors from the film slated to participate in pregame ceremonies, a spokesperson for the Dodgers said.
Ford is expected to be in attendance, along with Kelley Jakle, Rickey's great-granddaughter, who has a small role in "42." She will sing "God Bless America" during the game against the San Diego Padres.
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During the April 15 game, the film's trailer will air on the stadium's video boards. And fans in attendance will receive a statue that features the likenesses of Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodgers teammates Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe.
On Thursday, Ford and Boseman and other members of the "42" cast met with sports media at the stadium for a series of interviews. Kemp and Newcombe were also on hand to speak with reporters.
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