Celebrity Interview: Colin Ford Talks on the Making of "The Hill," Dennis Quaid, Baseball, and God’s Timing

The Hill, an upcoming true story based on the life of professional baseball player Rickey Hill, starring Dennis Quaid, Bonnie Bedelia, and Scott Glenn, presents an uplifting triumph over circumstance film with Colin Ford starring as Rickey Hill.

Having the chance to talk to Colin before the SAG/AFTRA strike stopped all junket participation, the following is our conversation. The Hill is scheduled for release August 25, 2023.

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JW: Congratulations on the film, I really enjoyed it.

CF: Thank you so much.

JW: So, describe how the role of Rickey Hill came to you?

CF: Well, I was lucky enough to receive an audition and a script for The Hill and I cracked it open, read through it, and immediately fell in love with the characters. I immediately fell in love with the baseball, and obviously when you have a script written by Angelo Pizzo [and Scott Marshall Smith] you're like, 'Oh my gosh this is going to be amazing," and I just think that looking at it as a whole it was just so enticing. I love the idea that it was a true story, I love the idea that I might be lucky enough to get to bring Rickey's story to the big screen and yeah, the whole audition process was a little bit of a doozy. It took place back in 2018-2019 and I was able to actually be lucky enough to read with Dennis [Quaid] for one of my auditions which was really nerve wracking and exciting at the same time.

Unfortunately we weren't able to make the film at that point in time and then the pandemic hit so we had to wait, to leave it, a little bit longer but ultimately you know everything happens for reason God's timing it's always perfect and we were able to make the film in October of 2021 and it wouldn't be the film that you saw today if we would have done it at a different time.

JW: That's very interesting. Thank you. I understand the storyline is of personal tragedy, loss, triumph over tragedy and you know it's a very family friendly, uplifting, and obviously religious message so tell me how that informed you and drove the narrative of how you built that into your character?

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CF: No, I think it's a great question. I think that you know if you look at Rickey's life and the cards that he was dealt, he wanted to become a baseball player, he ultimately had these leg braces that prohibited him from running, let alone walking, and so when you take a person like that and you stack all their odds against them and you go, 'Oh my gosh well it's kind of the David verses Goliath story here.'

I think that you see the true grit and determination that someone like Rickey had and inspired me to want to play him and inspired me to want to take a step further into my own development as an actor, my own development as an athlete, and you know training to become a baseball player and I wanted to take these steps to kind of push myself to see what I could do because I felt truly convicted and inspired from Rickey's story. I think that's ultimately what we would like people to take away from the film you know through grit and structured determination and pursuing your God-given talents anything's possible.

JW: So, tell me about working with Dennis Quaid?

CF: Dennis was a dream come true. I mean like I said I was pretty nervous when I was in there for my audition, but by the time I had gotten the job I was able to calm down and relax a little bit. But there was a little bit of tension between you know Pastor Hill and Rickey Hill and I think that some of that nervousness between myself and working with such a great actor like Dennis I think that [added] to the tension that Pastor Hill and Rickey had on screen.

JW: I understand that Rickey Hill, the real Rickey Hill, was also in the film?

CF: That's correct. Yes, he plays one of our baseball scouts. You have to look and see if you can see find him.

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JW: Okay, so do you have a memorable moment from the film?

CF: Oh, my goodness I have many. I think one of my favorite moments from the film is actually shot on the very first day of filming. But it's spoiler alert, it's at the very end of the film and it's when Dennis, when Pastor Hill and Rickey finally come together at the climax of the film plot and come together and have this beautiful father son moment that we've all been waiting for as an audience for the entire film.

So I think that was a huge moment for me and the reason I use it as an example is because you know it's the very end of the film, but for me it was my very first moment on screen filming with Dennis so it kind of set the tone and set the pace for the how the rest of the project was going to go, it was almost kind of like the lighting of the candle or the passing of a torch in the Olympic Games, the way you know it lit the energy throughout the rest of the cast and crew.

JW: Wow. Great. So, I did have a question about describing the baseball teams and you know I had also asked about thinking about the final scene but since the final scene was shot at the beginning were any of those actual did you use stand in for the baseball did you uh you know are you an athlete did you shoot the scene yourself?

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CF: Yeah. No, I shot a lot of the stuff myself I did as many takes as I could possibly do after a while you know the shoulder and the arm start to get tired hitting balls, so I did have a young man, Phillip, who was my stunt double, if you will or body double. Phillip was a very wonderful baseball player and there's a couple hits in the film where it's me and then it's Phillip and then it's me again but Phillip, he definitely made me look great and was really helpful as well when we worked back and forth, and he and I were each trying to copy Rickey's swing. So, it was kind of both of us working together to try, you know, make the baseball stuff look as real as possible.

JW: And it did. It's very good.

CF: Thank you.

JW: You're welcome. You said that you auditioned in 2018 or when you didn't hear for a couple of years even before the pandemic how did you feel?

CF: Yeah. No, well you know, I knew that there had been an issue. I knew that there was an issue with the schedule before we knew about the pandemic. I knew there was an issue with some financing and then also Dennis's schedule. So, I knew that there were other factors at play and I knew that it was something that was maybe going to go away forever. I've been attached to films that unfortunately were never able to make it to production and that's just kind of the name of the game.

Sometimes you hope it's going to come back. Sometimes it comes back at a time when you're no longer available or maybe the right age or look for the role but luckily like I said before you know I had done some training I underwent some weight gain I was actually only 120 pounds when I first auditioned for the hill by the time we started filming I was 180 pounds so there was all these things that needed to happen cosmically in the world and spiritually and I think that God ultimately, you know let us make the movie when he saw it best to be made.

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JW: So, what's next for you Colin?

CF: That is a great question. Right now, I'm just enjoying working on promotion for The Hill and looking forward to the summer. Unfortunately, we have sort of an unsure cloud over Hollywood at the moment as our unions are sorting some things out. So, we're all on standby for right now.

JW: Well congratulations on the film, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a great spiritual, I mean uplifting and it has a great message, triumph over tragedy, David versus Goliath. It's a wonderful film, so thank you so much and have a great day.

CF: Thank you very much as well.

The Hill, an uplifting, triumph over circumstance film, will be released in theaters everywhere, August 25, 2023. See it!

**Interviews were conducted before the SAG/AFTRA Strike.

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