Movieguide® TV caught up with Lucas Black (Friday Night Lights, Seven Days in Utopia) on the red carpet of “42”. Lucas plays the part of former Dodger’s shortstop Pee Wee Reese in the Jackie Robinson biopic.
It was Reese who famously put his arm around Jackie in the middle of the baseball field, right during the height of the backlash against Jackie leaving the “Negro Leagues” to play for the Dodgers. The photos of that moment have become iconic.
Movieguide®’s Evy Baehr took a moment to ask Lucas a few questions about Pee Wee Reese, Branch Rickey, and their faith in God.
Evy: What do you think really changed your player’s/character’s heart in the situation?
Lucas: Well, I think he just felt like it was time for him to show the world and his teammates and his family where he stood. He didn’t know how to react to the situation. He didn’t like Jackie when he first came to play with the Dodgers. He just knew it was tough ground and rough territory and didn’t know how to get involved. I felt like there was a time when he thought enough was enough, so… to make that gesture, out in public, was just to show everyone who he really was and how he respected Jackie as a ballplayer and as a person.
EVY: Yes, [that scene] was very touching. Now, what do you think it was about Branch [Rickey] that he wanted to do this? What do you think the motivation there was?
LUCAS: Well, I think he knew it was time for baseball to change. He was a Christian person and felt everyone should be treated as equals, and he knew it wasn’t happening in baseball. So it was time for change, and he saw something in Jackie and saw the strength in Jackie and knew that everyone could accept him as a phenomenal ballplayer and look away from him being a colored person.
EVY: I think his faith really did impact the situation.
LUCAS: Absolutely. Absolutely. His belief in God and the way he carried his life was absolutely the strength behind his decision
EVY: Do you feel like you’ve had a point where you had to do something that was right, but that was really hard?
LUCAS: Oh, absolutely. I think we all go through that in life. We might think it’s hard ourselves, and then we end up acting the right way, and then really it wasn’t that hard. I find myself thinking that sometimes, but it definitely wasn’t anything as hard as what Branch Rickey and Jackie had to decide for themselves in how they wanted to act.
EVY: Well thanks for talking to me!