Roswell teen scores role in Jackie Robinson biopic, "42"

9:41 AM, May 3, 2013   |    comments
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ROSWELL, Ga. -- It is slated to be one of the biggest movie hits of the year.

42 is the story of Jackie Robinson and his remarkable life 66 years ago when he became the first African-American to break the so-called "color line" of Major League Baseball.

And 13-year-old Henry Friedman from Roswell has made a name for himself in the movie.

The Friedman family has lived in Atlanta for generations.

You might best know the last name from the world famous Friedman's shoe store downtown that has catered to athletes from all over the planet.

Grandfather Friedman sold the store in the 1950's but the name has remained.

Now in 2013,  there is another famous Friedman making his mark here.

"When I was little, my grandparents' house I would get my brother and cousin and we would put up magic shows," Henry said.

After the magic shows, Henry's grandfather would call him "Hollywood." Maybe he knew something.

Henry has a pivotal scene in the hit movie about baseball great and civil rights hero Jackie Robinson.

"I didn't want to do the audition for it. Because I read the script. I've done auditions where I've said bad words but not that."

Henry's character attends a Reds game in Cincinnati, a joyous, happy experience, but his mood changes for a moment when his father and other fans start shouting racial slurs at number 42. His character sees everyone doing it --  then starts shouting racial slurs as well.

Says Henry, "Chadwick Bozeman who plays Jackie Robinson came in and said he understood I was just acting ."

The Friedmans are an artistic lot, mother Jennifer is a painter, father Ben is a musician with a wicked sense of humor and writes for music for TV shows.  He works on the series Café Racer.

Father Ben said, with tongue placed squarely in cheek, "I'm jealous of him. He pops up and he gets this movie and I've quit talking to him, I've had enough."

Reviews have been kind to Henry's performance as he captures the moment that helps lead to the famous scene of teammate Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around Robinson in front of a hostile Cincinnati crowd.

"It's a little scary how much publicity that scene has gotten and I didn't expect that,"  Henry added.

As for his father Ben, " I'm honored that he's in it and I'm honored he had the part he did, it's an important part, it shows how racism is passed down from others."

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