It's the Real Thing

You know that we Cubans love baseball and have embraced it as part of our national identity. 

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a press junket for the upcoming Disney film, 'Million Dollar Arm,'  which is about a sports agent named JB Bernstein, played by the handsome and talented Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame.

It's based on the true story of how (the real) JB created the Million Dollar Arm contest, in a last ditch effort to save his career by finding baseball's next great Major League India. 

The junket was held at the beautiful (and surreal) Four Season's Hotel in Beverly Hills. (Seriously, sometimes I wonder if this is really my real life, but that's not important right now.)




L to R: JB Bernstein, Rinku Singh, Lake Bell, Jon Hamm, Produceer Joe Roth

The panel consisted of 

  • Jon Hamm (“JB Bernstein”)
  • Lake Bell (“Brenda")
  • JB Bernstein
  • Rinku Singh
  • Gordon Gray (Producer)
  • Joe Roth (Producer)

As I mentioned earlier, 'Million Dollar Arm' is a True Story. I'd like to just stop there. Because this may have been the most impacting thing about the film (and the junket) for me. It's. A. True. Story. 

And sitting here before us at the press thing were, not just the stars of the film, but the real life people they play. *mind blown*


It was fun to hear that this was also exactly the reaction that Jon Hamm had when he read the wonderful Tom McCarthy screenplay. Read the following exchange.

MODERATOR:  Now Jon, this is a terrific performance, big leading role.  And wildly different from Don Draper.  What was it about this script though and this story – did you know about it first?  Had you ever heard of it?

JON HAMM:  No. I read the script and finished the script and loved it and then looked back to the title page and went like wait a minute.  This is true? mI am a huge baseball fan and somehow this flew under my radar and I didn’t know and so I immediately like two hours later was in like a Google hell of like you know finding out everything I could about this and I was like oh my God, this actually happened and that element to the story it dove-tails with what Joe and Gordon just said.

Also, let's just take a moment and appreciate the beauty that is (the real) Jon Hamm. Thankyouverymuch.


I'll give you an in-depth review of the film in a couple of days. Right now, I'd just like to make the point that this is not just another baseball movie. It's the Real Life story of Real Life people and how they made the impossible happen. 

As testament to this was the presence of (the real) Rinku talking about how the film was so very true to their actual experiences. (Also, I wonder if now that there are actors who have played them on the big screen, if they're going to get tired of having their names prefaced every time with "The Real...?')


The Real Rinku Singh

I had seen (and loved!) the film and was kind of enthralled that these two worlds were represented before me.

Rinku, the (real) kid from India whose life was completely changed by the Million Dollar Arm contest that was put on by (the real) JB Bernstein, and Jon Hamm whose life was also changed when he played JB Bernstein and as he traveled to India to film the movie. 

So, here I am, in my real life having a very surreal moment with (the real) Jon Hamm.


I'm totally becoming a press junket junkie. Really.


Directed by Craig Gillespie from a screenplay written by Tom McCarthy, Walt Disney Pictures’ drama “Million Dollar Arm” stars Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Suraj Sharma, Lake Bell and Alan Arkin. The producers are Mark Ciardi, Gordon Gray and Joe Roth.  

Million Dollar Arm opens in theaters everywhere on May 16, 2014.