MILLION DOLLAR ARM
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
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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