***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.***
Interviewing the hottest celebrities is always a fun experience. During my recent trip to LA, I got to meet and chat with so many amazing stars. Meeting Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Hamm, Jason George, and so many other Hollywood stars was an unreal experience. I was pinching myself the whole time to make sure I wasn't dreaming!
However, if you asked me which of my recent interviews I am most excited about, chances are, you've never heard their names. Sadly, J.B. Bernstein, Rinku Singh, and Dinesh Patel aren't exactly household names. But they should be, since their story is among the most inspirational I have ever heard. These brave young men, along with their surrogate "dad" and sports agent, J.B. Bernstein, have accomplished something life-changing in so many ways, and somehow, their story had remained under the radar. Until now.
You see, Disney's new movie, "Million Dollar Arm" is based off of a true story. In this wonderful family film, J.B. Bernstein is an arrogant, struggling sports agent who is looking for a brand new idea to capitalize on. Something no one in the sports world had ever attempted. Something new and fresh, and most importantly, something that could rescue his failing agency, Seven Figure Management.
One day, J.B. got an idea. He would travel to India, where he would seek out some of the best Cricket "bowlers" and turn them into skilled American Baseball pitchers. J.B. Bernstein held auditions in several regions in India, attracting loads of hopefuls. (The winner would receive $100,000 American dollars, and the 2 top pitchers would travel to America to train for a real MLB try-out.) Oh, and I should mention, this had to happen in a 12 month period. That's right. He had ONE YEAR to take young men who have never held a baseball, and transform them into skilled pitchers.
Impossible? Well, you might think so. But J.B. Bernstein accomplished this and gained so much more than notoriety in the sports world. He also found the love of his life, learned about the importance of family, and even became a surrogate "Dad" to Rinku and Dinesh. So while he saved his failing business, he also became a better human being in the process.
Last week, we were blessed enough to chat with the REAL J.B. Bernstein, as well as Rinku and Dinesh. When they entered the room, there was so much excitement. The guys had the biggest smiles, and you could tell that J.B. was very proud of these young men. He had an almost fatherly air, and you could tell that these men have a very strong bond.
We had the chance to ask them several questions about their real-life experience that inspired "Million Dollar Arm". One of the things that was on all of our minds was how accurate the movie was. Here's what J.B. Bernstein had to say about the authenticity of the movie:
J.B. Bernstein : You know, some of the things they touch on is the inspirations are accurate like you know, American Idol, but seeing Cricket. But you know, like any idea, I have Business Partners and they were part of the Idea Generation but it's hard to tell a Movie from 80 points of view. In reality, my two Business Partners, Will Chang and Ash Vasudevan, where both in the Movie. They helped us and you know, we kind of were both thinking about these things separately and it wasn't really until we came together that the idea, you know, came from this nebulous fuzzy thing of Hey, we should try to find Talent in India too.
Our chat was on the very day of the "Million Dollar Arm" World Premiere. This is a HUGE deal, so we just had to know if these guys were as excited as we were to see their story adapted to the big screen at the El Capitan Theatre. We also wanted to know what they hoped the audience would take away from the film.
J.B. Bernstein: They both, (Rinku and Dinesh) had the chance to screen the Movie for his team down in Renton. Dinesh was actually at a
Speaking of becoming a better person, J.B. Bernstein's life has changed dramatically since his "Million Dollar Arm" journey began. He has stopped dating models and has married the real-life Brenda. They also have a beautiful, 3 year old daughter. We asked J.B. is he had any advice for Dads out there. Here's his humble and very honest response:
J.B. Bernstein: Wow, um, Delphine's only 3 so I don't know that I would qualify to give advice just yet after only 3 years. I'm still probably taking advice. But having Rinku and Dinesh live with me gave me a taste of Fatherhood. It reminded me of the importance of Family. It reminded me
Of course we all wanted to hear more about what this whole experience was like for Dinesh and Rinku. They, in my humble opinion, are the REAL stars of this story. Imagine being 18 years old, living in a rural village in India. You've never left your village or your family, and all of the sudden, you're being whisked away to the United States to learn American Baseball. You don't speak the language, and have no idea what to expect. That's exactly what Rinku and Dinesh went through.
We asked them what it was like to leave their families, and leave India behind, in pursuit of their Million Dollar Dream.
Dinesh : My parents were really afraid that I was leaving. They said, "Don't go." because this is the new world for me. So they were very afraid.
We also wanted to know what it was like for Dinesh and Rinku to have to learn a brand new sport in an unbelievably short time frame. Can you imagine having to become GOOD at a sport you've never heard of in just a year? I sure can't! These guys pulled it off, though. Here are Rinku's thoughts on learning how to become an amazingly talented baseball pitcher:
Rinku: Yes, it really takes some time. Just like, if you took American Baseball Player and make them become a Cricket Bowler, they have no idea how to pitch in Cricket, right? So that was totally different world for me coming here and playing Professional Baseball. Had no idea. It did take a
We were also eager to hear all about what it's like in India. Of course movies often portray this diverse country in a certain way, so we just had to ask what it's REALLY like. J.B. was happy to share his experiences about this land that is so steeped in culture and beautiful tradition:
J.B. Bernstein: I've been to a lot of places in India, maybe even more than
Did you know that "Million Dollar Arm" is still alive and well? That's right! It doesn't end with Dinesh and Rinku's story. We wanted to hear about how "Million Dollar Arm" is still changing lives in India. (Yes, they have continued this amazing program!) J.B. was all too happy to let us know about how this experiment has grown and evolved:
J.B. Bernstein: We're still running it in India. Uh, we'll start our 3rd Season this Winter. During our first season, we saw about 38,000 kids. This year we'll see half a million. Major League Baseball is now playing a big part in it, as well as Disney and Simon & Shuster. You know, we have a lot more muscle to flex than if it were just me, Rinku, Dinesh, Ash and Will. Not that the 5 of us aren't formidable on some level....We have a little bit more muscle to flex and a little bit bigger Microphone so I'm -- I'm hoping that we'll find Talent and there's a monetary side to this thing. But there's a social side to this thing that really none of us saw coming that has really become the primary focus of "Million Dollar Arm" which sound weird for an Agent to say cause you know, that's not-- I'm supposed to be about making money. But this is a unique opportunity we have to have almost a Social Revolution.
Finally, we were excited to learn that Rinku still resides here in the US and is well on his way to becoming a baseball legend. Dinesh has moved back to India to be with his family, and teaches Indian youth the sport of American baseball. When we asked if he misses the US now that he's back home, here's what his response was:
Dinesh : When I was here, I missed a lot of home. But right now, I'm living in India with my Family. I'm happy.
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 mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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