***Disclosure: I received an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood courtesy of Disney to facilitate my posts. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
When I was invited to LA to attend the World Premiere of Disney's "Million Dollar Arm", I was super-excited. You see, my Grandma is a die-hard baseball fan, and during baseball season, you can almost be certain she's either watching or listening to the game, and often cussing at the Cleveland Indians players. (It's really cute to watch my Grandma react to the games. Maybe I should get a YouTube video of it...Hmm...That's a whole different post entirely, though!)
Anyway, between my Grandma's baseball obsession and my dear friend, Patty's, Jon Hamm obsession, I was more than a little geared up for this trip. Especially when I learned more about the inspirational, real-life story that "Million Dollar Arm" is adapted to.
"Million Dollar Arm" follows the story of J.B. Bernstein (played by Jon Hamm), a struggling sports agent who is looking to introduce the next big thing to the world of sports. It took a bit of brainstorming, but Bernstein came up with an idea that had never been attempted before. He wanted to travel to India to find the next star pitcher for Major League Baseball.
There would be a country-wide competition to see who could throw the fastest and most accurate pitches. Keep in mind, the boys and young men in India had never heard of American baseball, let along thrown a ball. Most of the folks who tried out hadn't even been outside of their rural farming villages. The winner would receive $100,000 American dollars, and both the winner and runner up would travel to Los Angeles, California to train and hopefully attract the attention of Major League talent scouts....All within a 1 year time frame.
Impossible? Well, you'll just have to watch the movie to find out! Let me just say that while Mr. Bernstein was looking solely at the dollar signs, he ended up taking away so much more from this experience. In fact, he ended up a changed man altogether.
We got the chance to interview the ever-so-dreamy Jon Hamm and find out all about his take on this heartwarming story, his travels to India, and what it was like to play the real-life sports agent, J.B. Bernstein, of Seven Figures Management.
The first thing I noticed when Jon Hamm came into the Hollywood Hills Room in the fabulous Lowe's Hollywood Hotel was definitely his hair. This man has absolutely perfect, 100% flawless hair. Or a really great stylist. Probably both, actually. It literally took me a couple minutes to get over how amazing his hair was. (What can I say, I am definitely a lover of some nice hair!) The rest of him wasn't too bad, either. I could definitely see why my gal-pal, Patty, is so enamored of him. Plus, Mr. Hamm is a die-hard baseball fan himself, and roots for the St. Louis Cardinals, his home team. This makes his role as JB Bernstein all the more perfect!
I know, I know...I should stop my fan-girl rambling and share some of our exclusive interview with you all!
One thing we were all very eager to know was what Jon's impressions of India were. In my mind, India has always held a certain beauty and exotic mystique, so I was very interested in hearing all about their time there. They spent a lot of time filming in India, and there were certain challenges, such as the extreme heat which caused several t-shirt changes. (Oh, to be a fly on that wall!)
Here's Jon's take on filming in India, and the challenges the "Million Dollar Arm" cast and crew faced:
Jon Hamm: Well it's not just the heat. It's literally everything. I mean, it's a completely different culture. And when you learn more about the actual J.B. Bernstein, the guy I play, he had to go through all this and figure out how to do business in this country and figure out how to manage all of this stuff. And there was no guarantee that it was going to work, at all. It was a huge leap of faith. I mean, if you speak to him now he's fairly conversant in Hindi. He's been doing it for six or seven years now so he's very much comfortable in the Indian culture, and this was a direct result of this experience that he had.
Sadly, the story behind "Million Dollar Arm" was largely unknown before Disney started making the movie. This is amazing to me, since the things that were accomplished in the real lives of JB Bernstein, Rinku and Danesh are so impressive and completely heartwarming.
I am SO glad that Disney saw the incredible value of this story and decided to share it with the world. It's truly a tale of the human spirit that needed to be told. So we were all very curious to hear how Jon got involved in the movie.
Jon Hamm: "I met with Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray who
Since this IS a true story based on real, living people, I can't even begin to imagine the pressure on the actors to portray their characters in the most authentic light. We asked Jon if he felt additional pressure as an actor to have to re-create real life events and adapt JB's real life personality.
Jon Hamm: "I would suggest maybe if it was somebody that a lot of people knew. There's probably a little more pressure on Daniel Day Lewis playing Abraham Lincoln although no one around really knows him anymore. Um, but no... I felt very responsible towards, J.B., especially after having met him and, and kind of learning his story and learning how profoundly this experience changed his life. We tried to tell that in the film. You know, that this is what actually happened to the guy.
Of course since the experience was so incredibly life-altering for J.B. Bernstein, we just had to know if the making of "Million Dollar Arm" was life-changing for Jon, too.
Jon Hamm: I think all travel is, in general, should be, kind of life-affirming and eye-opening in some way. This was certainly no exception. I'd never been to Asia much, much less India specifically, so I had no concept of what I was going to see. I mean, we've all seen photos of the Taj Mahal and the this and the that..Like every travel experience. But then when you actually get there and you're there in person, it's in 3D.
We also just had to know which part of this movie was Jon's favorite part to film and why....You HAVE to see this movie to understand that there are so many amazing aspects of the film that it's got to be nearly impossible to pick just one favorite part.
Here's what Jon had to say his favorite thing about filming "Million Dollar Arm" was, as well as his personal favorite scene from an acting standpoint:
Jon Hamm: There are a couple parts I think (were my favorite).
There have been so many amazing sports films over the years, from "Miracle" and "The Rookie" to "Jerry Maguire" and "A League of Their Own", just to name a few. We asked Jon Hamm what he feels sets "Million Dollar Arm" apart from your typical sports-related movie. I couldn't agree with his answer more!
Jon Hamm: " I think like most good sports films, it's not necessarily all about the sport. I think if you look at something like "The Natural", ostensibly
Our interview with Jon Hamm was definitely very eye-opening as we got a sneak peek behind the scenes of "Million Dollar Arm" from the lead actor's perspective. I absolutely loved his personable, candid nature and the obvious passion that Jon had for the film.
Once we were through chatting, Mr. Hamm was awesome enough to pose for this awesome group photo with us. Yes, I am less than 2 feet away from the deliciousness that is Jon Hamm. Pretty darn unreal!
Disney's "Million Dollar Arm" opens in theaters everywhere on May 16, 2014.
You can follow "Million Dollar Arm" on social media to stay on top of the latest news, clips and more:
Website and Mobile Site: www.Disney.com/MillionDollarArm
Like on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MillionDollarArm
Follow on Twitter: @DisneyPictures
And remember, be sure to stay tuned for more exclusive interviews with the stars of the film, the real life people whose amazing accomplishments inspired this feel-good story, and for a full movie review!
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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