***Disclosure: I received an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood to cover various Disney/ABC events. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
But it's my last interview for "Million Dollar Arm" that had me laughing the most. You just know you're in for a great time when Aasif Mandvi walks into a room. You know it's going to be an even better time when he refers to you as a "MILF-y Blogger." Come on now...We didn't have THAT good of a time, though I doubt too many of the ladies would have argued! It's not every day you're called a MILF by a movie star!
Anyway, you may know the super-talented and hilarious Mr. Mandvi from "The Daily Show". He also plays Aash, J.B. Bernstein's best friend and business partner in "Million Dollar Arm".
Here are Aasif's thoughts on going from being a Street Performer many years ago to actually landing a role in a Disney major motion picture:
AASIF MANDVI : I was a Street Performer at the Disney/MGM Studios, and now I was in a Disney Movie so it's a very, very different experience. There's less Catering involved. You don't get a Trailer, you don't get Catering, you know, Make up and Hair, nothing. No, it was great. Disney, the -- the MGM Studios was my first job out of College so it was kind of, um, an amazing experience. It was my first professional acting job, you know, and it was really fun.
We opened the MGM Studios back in '89 and sort of did these Street performing Characters and so it was a great place to learn Comedy and learn Improv and stuff like that. So it was amazing, you know. I hope this is not where I end but it's where I started, you know. So yeah, it came full circle, right?
AASIF MANDVI : No I'd never heard of this. I'm also not a huge Sports guy so I didn't know about the story at all. I heard about it because I know the real life Aash. We have mutual friends. And then there was this whole thing of like Oh, there's this Movie being made called "Million Dollar Arm" with these two-- And Aash was the guy who got them to America. And then I learned that my friend Asch was involved in making this Movie. That's how I found out about it, you know.
I think he's funny but he's also the grounding Character, you know. He's the one that sort of is the counter point to Jon Hamm's sort of Playboy Lothario Character. I like that aspect of it. I also feel like it was an interesting Character to see -- a South Asian Sports Agent because I don't know any, you know. I'm sure there are but it was sort of an interesting Character to play somebody I never played before. I felt that was kind of fun. And then I got to work with Jon Hamm every day who is dreamy so... [LAUGHTER] so you know, I got do that, you know.
AASIF MANDVI : Oh the Twins. OK, so they had two sets of Twins. So it wasn't the same, but you can't tell because they're Indian and probably look alike. [LAUGHTER] But if you watch closely, you see that they're actually two sets of different Twins. The Twins that I'm feeding in the Kitchen are not the same Twins that I'm holding on the Porch.
So we've got two sets of Indian Parents who have these two sets of Twins and they're sort of hiding off in the corner. And the kids would just cry. They would just cry. The scene was not about these kids crying, and -- Craig Gillespie the Director, he was like, you know, kids cry. So let him just cry because there's no way we can stop them from crying. So we just used it. So Craig's theory was like every time we see Aash and his children, his children are just screaming. And that's just the reality of his life. So in the bed, they're crying. They weren't supposed to be crying. In the Kitchen, they're crying.
And then, the piece de resistance is that on the Porch, the kids were again, crying and I'm supposed to be holding them, and the kid is literally screaming for his Mother. He's just like, I don't care about your stupid Movie, I want to be with my Mom. So I said to Craig, I said Listen, I can't do this anymore. This kid is like, there's snot coming out of him and he's crying. He's just a mess, you know. And Craig was like, Listen we have, we've got to get this shot, OK? We need this shot. Just let the kid cry. I don't care. Just grab him, walk out onto the porch, we get the shot, we're done. We're out of here. So I'm like Fine, OK. So they roll Action, I grab this kid, it's like pulling cheese off a Pizza.
It's literally like I grab this kid. He's holding on to me, the hair, the thing, and I grab him like Come on, Come on Sweetie, come on. And we go running on to the Porch and I'm standing there getting the shot. I'm shaking him and then suddenly he looks at me and just puked. [LAUGHTER] And it's just all over my clothes. Twice, he did it twice. And it's in the Movie. And you can see it. So like it's totally real. Like and -- and you see me go from being a Character in a Movie to being an Actor who just got puked on. I take the kid, I'm holding him out here like -- like an Actor who's suddenly been puked on and the kid is just puking. There's puke everywhere. It's all in my clothes, in my hair. But we got the shot. Yeah.
AASIF MANDVI : It was really actually fun going to India and shooting because you know, having been born there and have family there and have visited India many times, it's a whole different experience when you go with an American Film Crew to India. It's actually the best way to see India is to be in the bubble of a big Hollywood Production. You don't have to deal with any riff raff going around, you know, in an Air Conditioned car and stuff. But it was great, it was like that was actually kind of just experientially, it was just like an amazing experience to go to India. I got to visit family.
I got to see the Taj Mahal, which I've always wanted to and never had. And now I got to do it on Disney's dime so you know, so it was kind of great. Yeah.
AASIF MANDVI : I don't know how it'll impact people in India. I'll be curious to see that. I mean, I think the stuff has an emotional element to it. You know, there's sort of an Indian kind of pride sort of thing about it, you know. But I don't know how people will take to it. I know like for example, when "Slumdog Millionaire" came out, a lot of people in India didn't like the movie, you know. They were sort of like, Oh this is India for Western people. And sometimes there's a kind of exoticization, exoticization, is that even a word?
An exoticism of India, you know what I mean, of like the Poverty, etc. But I think this Movie actually takes a really great sort of realistic approach to what it is, like that scene with Vivek and -- and JB in the office where he's talking about like where the Posters and the t-shirts were-- That is so the experience of the average Indian person in India. Its a Middle Class Indian person's life in India, which is like dealing with the bureaucracy and the sort of red tape of like the system. You know what I mean? Everything in India that is sort of like, makes it harder than it really should be, you know?
So I think there's interesting sort of observations about India that are very true in this Film. So I'll be curious to see how it plays to the Masses over there.
Aasif Mandvi: It’s a very sort of American Dream kind of story and so I think that the idea of possibility. I was talking to Rinku about it, you know, the real Rinku, and I was saying like ‘do you feel like proud’ or you know what I mean? He was kind of philosophical about it and he kind of was like, you know, I don’t, like cause it’s just what happened to me. ‘Like I just, you know, I went to this Audition and this thing happened and it — it is a story for the world but it is not really like– For me, it’s just my life, it’s just what happened and now what I’m really interested in, is being the best Baseball Player that I can be.’ You know, so he’s really focused on sort of just being a Baseball Player. This whole sort of inspirational story that happened is really kind of the stuff that Movies are made of.
AASIF MANDVI : I'm actually doing an HBO Series called "The Brink". In this series, I work with Jack Black and Tim Robbins. That will come out next year. It's good. It's a comedy about the End of the world and sort of like the brink being like the world is on the brink of Armageddon. It's a Geo-Political Comedy. It's sort of like seen through the eyes of 3 Departments of US Government so State Department, Foreign Service, and the Military but it's a Comedy. And it's a half hour. So it's sort of like Dr. Strangelove.
It's nice -- it's nice cause like the stuff I have done on the Daily Show for years is sort of in that vein of clearly, you know, satirical Political sort of stuff. And so this is kind of in keeping with that stuff but it's from a Narrative standpoint. So I'm working on that. And I have a book coming out at the end of the year. So you guys can all blog about that. The book is called "No Land's Man" and it's basically stories of my life from growing up as a kid in England to like moving to Florida and being a High School Student in Florida and then coming to New York, and my career. So it's sort of essays, humorous essays that are kind of Sedarisesque sort of stories. So that's coming out in November.
If you haven't been introduced to the awesomeness that is Aasif Mandvi, definitely check him out in Disney's "Million Dollar Arm". I think you'll love his portrayal of Aash, and if not, you'll at least get to see him get puked on by angry children. It's a win-win situation.