As one of the Walmart Moms I’ve been truly blessed with all sorts of amazing experiences. However, being invited to be one of Walmart’s two red carpet correspondents for the premiere of the new Jackie Robinson biopic ’42′ most definitely tops them all. You’ll recall that I’ve worked the press line at a premiere before, but that did not minimize this experience in the least for me. If anything I felt more excited and better prepared – I love the challenge of being on-camera and was incredibly honored that Walmart even considered me for this opportunity!
Back in January Walmart signed on as a platinum sponsor of the movie ’42′ which is how I ended up on the red carpet. However, Walmart’s involvement didn’t end there. One of the things that I love most about working with Walmart is that they are always eager to jump in and get involved in the community in any way that they can. There were multiple levels to their sponsorship of ’42′ – including a Field Refurbishment Program – which was a partnership between Walmart, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, the Ball Park brand, the Jerry Clark Foundation, and Scotts. Ballparks were selected in 5 areas around the country (Atlanta, Orlando, LA, Chicago, and Bentonville) – and each received a complete field and ballpark overhaul. In addition, events to celebrate the refurbishment were held in each market and local children were invited to participate in a baseball clinic, meet some MLB players, and more. The night before the premiere of ’42′ Walmart and it’s partners unveiled the last of those 5 fields in Los Angeles.
I was thrilled to have a colleague and friend from the Walmart Moms, Jennae from Green and Gorgeous, with me in Hollywood as my co-anchor for the premiere. Jennae and I have worked together for several years and since it was her first time in Los Angeles I was happy to
drag show her around.
Jennae kept telling me how nervous she was but the camera loves her and she truly did an amazing job. She asked the most amazing questions and her journalism background was invaluable on the red carpet!
Red carpets are always tough because you want to talk to everyone involved and get the interview – and so does the rest of the press in attendance! At times it took a little persuading to get the stars to come over and chat with us about the film – but Jennae and I had prepared well by researching their photos, their backgrounds, and reading everything we could find about the movie. (Plus, how can you resist two 30 year old women shouting your name and saying ‘can we ask you a few questions on behalf of Walmart’s 28 million Facebook fans!?’) We were hoping to chat with Chadwick Boseman, who plays Jackie Robinson in the film, but he managed to slip by while we were doing another interview. We did get to speak with Harrison Ford (Branch Rickey), Christopher Meloni (Leo Durocher), Ryan Merriman (Dixie Walker), Lucas Black (Pee-Wee Reese), Thomas Tull (Producer of ’42′), and Laila Ali – among others. Don’t just take my word for it – check out our video!
I was honored to interview Harrison Ford on his role as Branch Rickey. What a tremendous and successful actor he is – and wait until you see him in ’42′. He really brings Branch Rickey to life and you just want to jump through the screen and hug him.
I was also able to interview Christopher Meloni who gets rave reviews from me as Leo Durocher, the gruff and hilarious manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Also, I was able to refrain from calling him Detective Stabler (but it wasn’t easy).
Lucas Black is a fellow Southerner (he’s from Alabama, I’m from Louisiana) and what you won’t see on camera is that I asked him if he wanted to have a “Southern Accent-off”. He laughed and told me he had no doubt that he would win. I think he’s probably right. His character, Pee-Wee Reese, was one of my favorites in the movie, and I thought that Lucas did a tremendous job playing the role.
I’m a huge fan of the show Pretty Little Liars, so having the chance to interview Ryan Merriman, who plays Dixie Walker in ’42′ was a real treat for me too. His character Dixie struggles with being on the same team as Jackie and so we talked a little bit about how playing that part was hard for him. (I really liked his grey suit, too, but I didn’t have the guts to tell him that.)
After our interviews we were able to do something most of the rest of the press isn’t allowed to do – we were able to enter the premiere and watch the movie with the rest of the cast. I can honestly say that the movie was incredible. Take your older children to see it, assuming they are old enough to understand and you can talk to them about the themes of racism. While our kids are still a bit young for the film, I am definitely going to sit down with them and watch it sometime in the future – it tells such an incredible story of an amazing man and what he did to break down race barriers in this country. Not only that but the movie is well-written and all of the actors really bring their “A” game.
When you leave the film feeling inspired and thankful for those who have paved the way before us, as I did, be sure to stop in at Walmart on your way home for some exclusive ’42′ gear. Check out these awesome t-shirt prints that you can find in a store near you.
After the movie we headed over with the rest of the cast, crew, and guests to the after-party. Jennae and I were pretty exhausted so we didn’t stay long, but we marveled at how the entire parking lot was turned into “Ebbets Field”. It was amazing!
And here is my baseball card shot that I took at the after party!
All in all I had such an amazing night – and I hope you enjoyed our coverage. Thank you Walmart for such an amazing opportunity to represent your 28 million Facebook fans! Please go check out the film 42 when it opens in theaters TOMORROW! You won’t be sorry!