***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.***
Okay, so I got to interview some amazing people during my recent trip to Hollywood. (I am STILL pinching myself, actually!) I fell in love with Madhur Mittal, since he looks SO much like my Bruno, I got to see Jon Hamm's eerily perfect hair in person, and I even got to meet and chat with the REAL people who inspired Disney's "Million Dollar Arm", J.B. Bernstein, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel.
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".
You may not know this, but "Million Dollar Arm" isn't Mandvi's first experience working with Disney. He used to be a Street Performer at Disney/MGM Studios. (How cool is that?!)
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.
Before Disney started production of "Million Dollar Arm", the amazing story of J.B., Rinku and Dinesh was relatively unknown around the world. We were curious to see if Aasif, who was born in India, was familiar with this real-life adventure before he accepted the role of Aash:
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.
In "Million Dollar Arm", Aash is a "funny man" next to J.B.'s more serious character. We were interested in knowing if the humor in this role was what attracted Aasif to the part. Here's what he had to say about that:
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.
In the film, Aash is a Dad. He has a pair of often screaming twin babies. We wanted to know how it was for Aasif working with such young children during a good portion of the movie's filming. Because...well...You know... Getting puked on by screaming kids is always a fun time.
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.
When we were through laughing about the infamous puke scene, we wanted to know what scene, or aspect of filming, was Aasif's favorite. (It must have been SO hard to choose, since this film is packed full of amazing scenes.) Surprisingly, getting puked on was not his favorite part of filming. (Can't say I blame him!)
Here's what Aasif enjoyed the most about the making of "Million Dollar Arm":
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.
Before "Million Dollar Arm" hit theaters, this amazing and inspirational story was relatively unknown. Even the talent in the film were unaware of the story! Now that the film is done, we wanted to know what, if any, impact Aasif thought the film would have overseas in India:
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?
We also asked what Aasif hoped people would take away from "Million Dollar Arm" after they've seen it. (You all HAVE seen it, right? If not, make some plans this Memorial Day weekend to check out this amazing movie!) Anyway, here's what Aasif hopes people get from "Million Dollar Arm":
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.
And of course we just HAD to ask what Aasif has in the works right now. I am a HUGE fan of his humor, and was really excited to learn about any of his current and upcoming projects.
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.
We had an absolute blast chatting with the fabulous Aasif Mandvi. I am definitely looking forward to seeing his new series and checking out his new book. And Mr. Mandvi, if you call me a MILF again, I will gladly blog about anything you'd like!
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.
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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