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With 42 entering its second week in theaters, star Chadwick Boseman couldn’t hide his excitement about its successful box-office opening, which saw the Jackie Robinson biopic scoring $27.3 million.
“It’s good for it to be appreciated, but the fact that it’s making money,” Boseman tells The Hollywood Reporter, “is a great validation. It pays respect to Jackie Robinson as well.”
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And Bosemen has plenty more to be excited about. As THR first reported Friday, the actor is in talks to star in Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day, an NFL-centric feature from Summit and OddLot Entertainment.
Boseman, who had a nine-episode arc on the TV series Lincoln Heights and also starred in NBC’s Persons Unknown, along with a slew of guest appearances on the likes of Law & Order, CSI: NY, Justified and Castle, will have a key supporting role in the football pic. Appearing opposite Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner, Boseman will play a linebacker from Louisiana whose future is riding on the day of the NFL Draft. The film begins shooting in New York next week before moving to Cleveland.
Boseman’s breakout role in 42 found him filling the cleats of baseball legend Robinson, embodying the athlete during his early years in the major leagues. Though the role was not without challenges, Boseman says he is open – and hoping – to play other historical figures.
His dream role?
“I would love to play Jimi Hendrix,” Boseman says with a smile.
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“People have said, ‘You don’t need to do any more biopics. You don’t need to play any more real people.’ I don’t agree with that,” he explains. “As an African-American actor, a lot of our stories haven’t been told. Seeing the response not just to this movie but other movies that have been made about historical figures, there is a thirst for that and it needs to be done more.
“It’d be foolish to say I wouldn’t play another real person or historical figure. It just has to be the right one. It probably shouldn’t be the next one.”
Hendrix will hit the big screen — circa his pre-fame years — in the John Ridley-directed biopic All Is by My Side, now in postproduction and starring Andre Benjamin as the iconic rocker.
“Just because someone does one Jimi film doesn’t mean I can’t do another one,” says Boseman, mulling over the seemingly endless possibilities.
“His life is so many different things,” he says, referring to Robinson this time. “You could make so many different movies about his life.”
Asked about the most challenging aspect of embodying a historical figure, Chadwick’s answer is thoughtful.
“Giving myself the permission to make him human,” he says of Robinson. “To make him have flaws … he’s not supposed to be perfect.”
For more from THR’s interview with Boseman, watch the video below.
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
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