Mike Fleming

singh-patel-baseballThe trouble with jock films about American sports like baseball and football  is, they do little business overseas. So how about a fact-based baseball film about a scout who hatched an Indian reality show to find pitching talent, and wound up signing a cricket player and javelin thrower to minor league contracts with the Pittsburgh Pirates?

Columbia Pictures has Mitch Glazer writing Million Dollar Arm, a film that will be produced by Mark Ciardi, Gordon Gray and Joe Roth. The movie borrows its title from a reality series by sports agent JB Bernstein that aired on TV in India. Bernstein watched a cricket match and noticed that the throwing motion was similar to baseball. Though scouts routinely scour Latin America and Japan for prospects, Bernstein wondered could the next Nolan Ryan reside in India? Over 40,000 auditioned, and Bernstein returned to the U.S. with 19-year old cricket player Rinku Singh and javelin thrower Dinesh Patel. Both grew up in strict Hindu households and neither had never ventured beyond their small rural villages. They learned English through rap songs and action movies, and the rules of baseball. Each  of them throws over 90 mph, and the Pirates signed them. They are working their way through the minors. Ciardi and Gray, the Mayhem Pictures duo who produced the fact-based sports films The Rookie, Miracle, Invincible and the upcoming Secretariat, see Million Dollar Arm as a combination of Slumdog Millionaire and Jerry Maguire.   Glazer just wrote and directed Passion Play with Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox and Bill Murray starring.