Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Disney throws another feel-good pitch with Million Dollar Arm

14 May 2014, 09:56

Los Angeles - In the new Disney film Million Dollar Arm, Jon Hamm is soaked in perspiration, not the alcohol-induced sweat of his Mad Men character Don Draper, but the kind that comes from filming a modest production in India in the hottest part of the year.

Despite working in conditions he calls "remarkably warm and challenging," the baseball tale with a global twist gave Hamm not only his first lead role in film but one that was decidedly more upbeat than the ad man that made him famous on television.

"I love the fact that it has a family component to it and it has redemption," said Hamm. "You leave the movie theater with a smile on your face. It's a nice alternative to my other on-screen persona, who is a little bit darker."

Hamm plays sports agent J.B. Bernstein who, in a desperate bid to drum up clients, goes to India to find baseball pitchers among the country's cricket-loving sportsmen. It's a real-life story that warmed hearts over at the Walt Disney Co.

By the standards of the studio known for big-budget blockbusters, Million Dollar Arm is a small film, with a budget of $25m, a fraction of the $200m it cost to make the soon-to-be-released Maleficent with Angelina Jolie.

But it is in a league of Disney movies along with last year's Disney history piece Saving Mr. Banks and the upcoming sports drama McFarland  that enhance the Disney brand with an uplifting, against-all-odds story.

"We believe in great stories, both big and small, that depict values such as courage, ambition, hard work and family," said Dave Hollis, Walt Disney Studios' executive vice president of film distribution. Million Dollar Arm is a great story that has those unique human themes throughout."

With its nationwide release on Friday, Million Dollar Arm is expected to generate $15m in ticket sales during its first weekend in U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Boxoffice.com. It's an alternative to the other film opening this weekend, the Godzilla remake distributed by Warner Bros. that should bring in $78m.

Family fare for a change

The first part of Million Dollar Armplays out in a hot and chaotic Mumbai where J.B. struggles to get his improbable venture off the ground with a reality show. After frustrating rounds of tryouts, the American agent finds two strong arms in Rinku and Dinesh in rural India and brings them to Southern California, where they undergo training before being shown to Major League Baseball scouts.

The young men find themselves struggling with the culture, the lifestyle and, most importantly, the business expectations that J.B. has for them. His neighbor Brenda, a doctor played by Lake Bell, works to suture the fraying relationship in time to save their chances of making it in American baseball.

For the roles of the Indian pitchers, Disney chose Suraj Sharma, the actor stranded on a raft with the tiger in Ang Lee's Life of Pi, and Madhur Mittal, best known as Salim in the best picture Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire - casting that might help widen the film's global appeal.

Bell and Hamm, who are friends in real life, both highlighted one of the great advantages of working on a Disney film: for a change, they can send anyone in their families to see it and not have to worry about uncomfortable scenes.

"It is nice to be part of a project that my sister can take her kids to," said Hamm.
Prior to Million Dollar Arm, Hamm played an FBI agent in Ben Affleck's 2010 crime caper "The Town" and a bit part as the loathsome lothario in the 2011 women-driven comedy "Bridesmaids."

"I think you can make an argument that I was actually the star of Bridesmaids, he joked.
As he films the final episodes of "Mad Men" to air next year on the AMC cable network, Hamm said he has no road map for his career post-Don Draper, although Million Dollar Arm fit perfectly into his loose plan.

"I just want to work on things I find interesting in some way and this is a perfect example of something I find interesting," said Hamm, who happens to be a big baseball fan.

Watch the trailer here:

(Photos: AP/Disney)

- Reuters


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...