Tom McCarthy Writing Script For Disney About Indian Baseball Pitcher Reality Show
Tom McCarthy's Win Win was one of the few hits of this year's Sundance Film Festival that I missed-- none of the screenings worked out for my schedule, and given that Fox Searchlight is releasing the film on March 18, I knew I'd have my chance eventually. But the film caught on with a lot of audiences, marking yet another hit for the director of The Station Agent and The Visitor-- and apparently that festival success is enough to get McCarthy moving forward on his next job. According to THR he'll be tackling another sports-themed dramedy, the Disney project Million Dollar Arm.
Coming from the same producers behind inspirational Disney sports movies like Secretariat and The Rookie, Million Dollar Arm is based on the story of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, who won an Indian reality competition of the same name and were eventually signed as pitchers for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They were the first Indian players to ever play professional baseball in the United States, and though neither stayed with the Pirates-- Patel was released at the end of the 2010 season, and Singh is going on to play the sport in Australia-- they certainly broke new ground. A third major character in the film will be J.B. Bernstien, the sports agent who created the reality show and taught Singh and Patel both about baseball and the English language.
Quite honestly, it sounds like a story that could go terribly wrong in the hands of some directors, ignoring all the cultural difficulties or even talking down to the Indian players, who started their careers in cricket. But McCarthy is an unusually thoughtful and careful director, and proved with The Visitor that he can tell stories of culture clash very well. Right now McCarthy is only signed on as the screenwriter, and it's unclear if it's even an option for him to direct-- but if Disney wants this film to work out better than the average sports story, they'll be smart to keep him on board.
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