MILLION DOLLAR ARM
How It All Began
In 2007, entrepreneurial sports agent JB Bernstein staged a reality show in
India to find promising baseball
talents amongst the cricket-loving popular on. Bernstein says, "The hope was to
find the next Yao Ming, except
for baseball. Statistically speaking, in a country of 1.2 billion people, the
odds are good that you will find an
undiscovered raw talent. The hope was to capture all those cricket fans and turn
them towards baseball."
Ultimately, Bernstein found his ball players in Rinku Singh and Dinesh
Patel, and brought them home ... literally.
The boys became his de facto sons, living in his house as he taught them the
intricacies of baseball, as well as the
even more mystifying vagaries of American life. For Rinku and Dinesh, coming to
the States was tantamount to
visiting another planet. Even elevators and drinking fountains were magical and
mysterious. JB eventually found
that his new, ad hoc family gave him not just pleasure but purpose in life.
Bernstein believed the story would make a good
movie, and he suggested the idea to producers
Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray. Through their
Mayhem Pictures banner and Disney, Ciardi and
Gray have produced several inspirational true
stories including "Miracle," "Invincible" and
The idea, less about baseball and more about the
special bond between JB and Rinku and Dinesh,
was what appealed to producers Ciardi and Gray.
"We saw JB at a Super Bowl party right before he
left for India and I remember him saying he was
going there to do a reality show," Ciardi recalls. "It sounded crazy, but two
years later he had gotten two kids
signed and he came to us with this story. It was a really compelling and
heartwarming story that truly resonated
with us. The idea that this guy goes to India with the sole intend on to find
an athlete to bring back and get signed
to Major League Baseball, and at first they're just an investment but it turns
into a real family relationship -
that's the emo onal core and through-line that appealed to us."
As they developed the story into a movie, Ciardi and Gray found like-minded
partners in Roth Films producers
Joe Roth and Palak Patel.
Roth, who has directed motion pictures and held executive positions at
various Hollywood studios, recalls, "Mark
Ciardi came to me four years ago and said he had this nice little indie
project, and as soon as he started telling
me about the story, I knew the story, because I'm an avid sports fan. I'd seen
something about it on ESPN. I think
by then I'd read about it in Sports Illustrated and I had also done 'The Rookie'
with Mark. I actually called him up
on my way to work one day and told him I just read a story in the L.A. Times and
I thought it would be a great
Roth continues, "I like to tell optimistic stories, I like to tell stories
where people are sittng in the audience and
they think, 'Well, if these guys can do that, I can do anything.' And the whole
notion of two kids coming from
villages in India, who had never seen a baseball game, never worn a baseball
glove and the idea that they can
come to America and succeed was fascinating. At the same me, I was equally
interested in JB Bernstein's story,
the agent, because here's a man whose life is going down a certain path and he
changes. It's one of my favorite
themes when people can change at any me. Anything is possible. It's not an
American dream; it's kind of a
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