Million Dollar Arm Press Conference

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The “Million Dollar Arm” Movie Press Conference was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California recently.  The panel consisted of none other than JB Bernstein and Rinku Singh as well as Jon Hamm (who plays JB Bernstein) and LakeBell (who plays Brenda) and Producers, Joe Roth and Gordon Gray.

The one hour conference led by moderator Pete Hammond provided the media the opportunity to meet and engage in a Q and A session with the panel.  After a brief introduction of the attendees, the Q&A began.

The first question went out to Joe Roth who along with Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray are the producers of Million Dollar Arm.   Joe Roth shared how everything attracted him to the film.  As a big sports fan, he knew the basics of the story.  He also stated he loves the second chance stories, “I love the idea that I’m sitting in a movie theater and I’m thinking wow if these two guys can accomplish that, I can get up out of here when the lights get on and I can accomplish almost anything”.

Jon Hamm was up next sharing that although he also is a huge baseball fan, he was not aware of this story until he read the script. Jon said he hit the internet immediately and found out everything he could.  He shared how “it’s just this incredibly uplifting story about – about thinking outside the box and, and really following through with something and working hard and succeeding.

“it’s affirming and it’s uplifting and it’s heartwarming and it’s emotional and it’s not a “sports” movie so much as it’s a movie that moves you.  Jon continued praising the film and said “it works as a story and it works on, on several levels and, and it’s a testament to not only JB and Rinku and Dinesh’s amazing true story, but it’s also testament to Lake’s wonderful performance – the boys are so fantastic in it and bring so much soul and depth to what could be just a one note kind of performance.  They bring this whole world of emotion to it and, and it resonates and I was so pleased to see how Craig expertly managed the tone of the film to not veer into the world of sentimentality or sappiness or hokiness or over-earnestness or any of that and just stay true to the, to the basics of the story which has this incredibly emotional component to it and having spoken to JB and, and learning that – these events changed his life positively.  It’s, it’s a tremendous honor to get to be able to tell that story and I, I’m so pleased with it and as Joe said, I’m so proud of it, this, this thing that we made and I just want people to see it, so tell everyone to go see it.

LakeBell talked about her role in the film.   Working with Jon was great.  We have known one another for a long time.   “My character is the only female in the film full of sports and male characters and so full of energy”.   Although a supporting character, she adds so much to the film.

JB Bernstein brought up several key points that make the film extra special for him.   He loved the interaction between Lake and Jon and said it was like an out-of-body experience seeing his life on the screen.  when someone’s going to make a story about your life, there’s a lot of trepidation…”   “My fish-out-of-water journey is almost exactly how it happened, down to costumes.  Rinku and Dinesh’s fish-out-of-water journey is exactly as it happened.  The way I fell in love with my wife.  Their first try-out failure, which was my fault 100%.”  But most of all being able to tell the story of these two young men’s adventures into the world of baseball and sharing it with the world.

Rinku Singh, whose life the Million Dollar Arm is also based on was asked what it was like to see the film.  Rinku first complimented the actor, Suraj Sharma for his incredible portrayal of my character.  ” he’s not just a great actor, he’s a great young man as well” and did a great job.   Rinku talked about taking over 200 ball players to see the movie and giving them an eye opening experience as to what Rinku went through.   I

Jon Hamm went on to talk about the unbelievable hard work both Rinku and Dinesh endured to succeed.   Jon continued talking about Rinku’s comments of some of today’s athletes coming across as entitled and then seeing this film and it is an eye opener.    And that is yet another reason, Jon is so proud to be a part of this film.

For JB Bernstein having Rinku and Dinesh thrown into his life showed him what the importance of family and love and support was really all about.  It opened him up to the possibility of having a wife and kid of his own.  “I’ve got a beautiful daughter and a great wife and I’m, I owe it mostly to Rinku and Dinesh who started me down that path.”

Rinku was asked about his thoughts on achieving what most consider the American Dream, yet the movie shows us that was not his dream.   Rinku shared that first off he is still living the dream.  As a kid back in India, his goal was to represent his country in the Olympics and actually qualified in 2007.   But JB Bernstein came along and changed everything.  ”  I was just 18-year-old kid not knowing nothing about America, not knowing anything about a culture, leaving friends, family, graduation, didn’t even have chance to go to finish my degree.”

Rinku’s message is for the kids – “every single, single human wants to succeed in their life” It’s an easy word to say but harder to do and for Rinku success meant five, six, seven hours of training for every two his teammates did.  “I didn’t play baseball growing up so I always had to put in my 110% effort.  It doesn’t matter how you feel, how much you sleep you know, what’s going on in family, girlfriend, it doesn’t matter, but still I have to get up, show up, dressed up and be on time, give 110%.”    His advice to all is “it’s not about just seeing a dream it’s about following daily basis what you’re doing, know what you’re doing, who you hang out, how much you sleep, what you eat.  It’s respecting the opportunity.”

Rinku shared how trying out for Million Dollar Arm contest in India was more of a joke for him because he thought it was crazy that someone would want to give away a million dollars for throwing a baseball but now is grateful his coach forced him to try out.   Rinku was asked about this Flamingo style of pitching.   He commented that it was a type of stance used in his Olympic training that he applied to baseball.  “That’s what JB called flamingo style.”

Jon talked about all the raw talent in India.  There are no pro teams or collegiate sports so you have all this talent that is just dormant.   … be guys like Rinku who never picked up a baseball, which had no idea they could throw fast and then they would just pick it up and do it and the reality is, it’s just like in the movie.  We’re sitting there watching this guy standing there on one leg and we’re like there’s no way this is going to be good and we’re just watching like it’s going to be a train wreck and he throws it, it’s 86 miles an hour the first time he ever picked up a baseball.  JB Bernstein chimed in saying “because there is no baseball, there’s no value to knowing that you have this skill, and with Rinku and Dinesh and a lot of the other guys who were in the finals, there were 30 guys in India we found that were throwing over 85 miles an hour, none of which had ever seen a baseball and that was just with 38,000 kids.    Rinku said “there are kids that are seeing their dream through me, not because they want to be ball players, but because there is hope that the gift they have can be developed and they can make a better life for themselves and their families.”

JB Bernstein stated “No one’s ever gone from a position of not hearing of a sport to signing a pro contract in ten months and within 13 months of this kid stepping on U.S. soil he actually won a game for the Pirates”

The final question asked to JB Bernstein and Rinku was what, if anything are they doing to help kids back in India reach their goals.   JB Bernstein’s response We’re doing something.  It’s a movie called Million Dollar Arm.  “We’re not going to get a bigger megaphone than a Disney movie to go out there and show a real story about someone just like them who went and did something not impossible or improbable, something that’s never been done in the history of the world, not just in India.

Don’t miss Disney’s Million Dollar Arm in theatres, May 16, 2014.

Million Dollar Arm is the story of how JB Bernstein went to India in search of the next great pitcher. Holding a contest called Million Dollar Arm, he finds Rinku and Dinesh and in just under a year, turns them into professional players and gets them a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

My name is Loretta Garcia and I am the Entertainment Writer for Chip and Co. I am also a travel agent with Destinations in Florida and would love to help you plan your next Amazing Magical Adventures to your favorite destinations. Email me today at Loretta@destinationstoexplore.comand start packing.

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