You don’t say: Why Chadwick Boseman called an audible and didn’t try to imitate Jackie Robinson’s real voice

Jackie Robinson, as he appeared as himself in “The Jackie Robinson Story” as he was still playing for the Dodgers in 1950.

Jackie Robinson used to have the voice of …. not Billy Dee Williams. Probably much closer to Tony Gwynn.

When Chadwick Boseman set out to portray the Brooklyn Dodgers rookie in the new movie “42,” sound mattered. Robinson has what can best described as a “rosy” cadence. But Boseman wasn’t sure about how he wanted to pull that off.

John C. McGinley did his best to do a Red Barber impersonation in the film. So too did Harrison Ford with Branch Rickey. It was important to the character’s makeup.

Boseman explains why he choose a different route:

“I wish more people had asked that question,” Boseman told us.

“(Writer and director) Brian Helgeland early on, when we discussed Jackie’s voice, I’d been practicing it at home — I’m not going to do it — he said, ‘I don’t think you should do it. It’s going to be distracting.’

“I played the lead before in independent film. It’s an interesting thing understanding how the ingredients of the storytelling works in a film. Brian said, ‘You’re the lead.’

“Then I consulted Harrison Ford about it in New York. I thought it was great advice. You have to find the spirit of Jackie. Do you remember what you told me?”

Ford, who has the role of Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, was sitting nearby and responded: “I said, ‘You’ve got this part. Jackie Robinson doesn’t have this part. It’s all gotta come out of you.’”

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