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From Script to Screen
Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Tom McCarthy ("Up") also responded to the real-life story, which was a thrill for the filmmaking team.

"We are huge fans of Tom's," producer Gray says. "We had always loved 'Win Win,' 'The Station Agent' and 'The Visitor' is one of my favorite movies. Going out to Tom was like reaching for the stars. So when we heard he was interested, it was great news."

"He had the perfect take on the tone. The comedy is organic and that's what Tom excels at," Ciardi explains. "He's great at situational comedy and this is not just about a joke and a punchline; the comedy is character-driven."

So that McCarthy would truly understand Bernstein's incredible journey, he not only met with him, but also followed in his footsteps to India. "We sent him there for two weeks and he came back with a treasure trove of information," Ciardi says. "He really connected with JB's experience - in a way, he became JB."

Tom took all the quirks and characteristics of the real people and worked them into the screenplay," says director Gillespie. "You want to pack in as much of the real story as possible but you don't want to be slave to it. We hope we've captured the essence of JB's adventure. You have to entertain an audience, that's the first order of business."

Gillespie adds that while McCarthy took some dramatic license with the story, by and large he stayed true to the real people and events. And from that sprang a story and characters that were authentic, funny and sympathetic. "There was concern about not making fun of our Indian stars and their culture, especially when they came to the United States but I was never too worried," the director says. "First of all, Tom's humor comes from a place that is very real and organic and as long as I was being genuine to what these boys were experiencing, it would work. Like when Rinku and Dinesh can't figure out the elevator - it seems crazy but there is a video of them seeing and being deeply mystified by an elevator for the first time. My hope was to approach it in a way that favors their wonder and emotion but the humor is inherent in the moment - and that's what makes it funny and relatable."

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