By Bob Carlton/Birmingham News and www.al.com
The Jackie Robinson movie “42” began filming at Birmingham’s Tutwiler Hotel on May 14, before moving to Rickwood Field on Tuesday.
A production truck and vintage automobiles were parked outside the Tutwiler late Sunday afternoon in anticipation of the first day of filming.
The movie stars Chadwick Boseman of “The Express” as Robinson and Harrison Ford of “Star Wars” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” as Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers executive who paved the way for Robinson to break Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947.
Alabama native Lucas Black of “Sling Blade” and “Friday Night Lights” also has been cast to play Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who famously put an arm around Robinson’s shoulder after fans heckled his new teammate on a road trip to Cincinnati that season.
Another Alabamian, Corner High School graduate Linc Hand, will play Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Fritz Ostermueller.
Christopher Meloni of “‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” plays Dodgers manager Leo Durocher, and Nicole Beharie of “Shame” plays Rachel Isum, who became Robinson’s wife.
The movie, which depicts Robinson’s rookie season with the Dodgers, is written and directed by Brian Helgeland, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay to “L.A. Confidential” in 1998. Helgeland’s other credits include “A Knight’s Tale,” “Mystic River” and “Robin Hood.”
After shooting at the Tutwiler today, the movie is expected to film for three days at 101-year-old Rickwood Field, which previously served as locations for the baseball pictures “Cobb” and “Soul of the Game.”
Anyone interested in being an unpaid background extra for the baseball scenes may register at www.beinthemovie42.com.
Additional filming locations include Atlanta and Macon, Ga., and Chattanooga, where Engel Stadium will double for Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field.
The movie is scheduled to open April 12, 2013, to commemorate the 66th anniversary of Robinson’s debut with the Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
The title “42” refers to Robinson’s jersey number, the only number to be retired by all of the Major League Baseball teams.