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'42' star Alan Tudyk talks difficulty of role

April 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The movie "42" is the story of how Jackie Robinson became baseball's first black major-leaguer, No. 42 on the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Alan Tudyk plays Ben Chapman, a player-manager for the Philadelphia Phillies who, in 1947, openly opposed Robinson's presence in the game based on his race.

"He is a thug, he's a bully. And in a movie where there are a lot of bullies, he really shines as one of the most repugnant people," he said of his character.

Playing the role meant Tudyk had to use racial slurs repeatedly.

"It was too much to watch," Tudyk said. "And it was certainly too much to do because it was full days. I would say hi to the crowd, say, 'All right, you're going to hear some things. Know this is historical in nature. Please don't hate me. Here we go.'"

In one scene, Chapman is forced to publicly make amends with Robinson. Tudyk became a big fan of Chadwick Boseman, the actor getting his big break playing Jackie Robinson.

"He was just, go! Sink or swim. And this movie is on his shoulders and, as you said, I think he does such a great job," Tudyk said.

Tudyk is also a regular on ABC's "Suburgatory," where he never knows what he'll be doing next.

"And I am always wearing very little, it seems like I am wearing Speedos and I am dressed in a sombrero like the Tapatio mascot, a hot sauce mascot," he said. "I am definitely spoiled in getting to play some of the craziest situations that I have ever had a chance to play with 'Suburgatory.'"

"42" is rated PG-13.