Production has begun on Craig Gillespie‘s Million Dollar Arm. Based on a true story, Jon Hamm plays a washed-up sports agent who travels to India, and sets up a televised, national game show “Million Dollar Arm” to see if any cricket players might cut it in the major leagues. The press release provides the full synopsis, and while it sounds a little corny at points, such as “Ultimately, what began as a purely commercial venture becomes something more and leads JB to find the one thing he was never looking for at all—a family,” I have full faith in screenwriter Tom McCarthy. He’s 3-for-3 with The Station Agent, The Visitor, and Win Win (although he also directed those movies). Also, Hamm is long overdue for the lead role in a feature film. Finally, the flick boasts a terrific supporting cast that includes Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi), Madhurt Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire), Bill Paxton, Lake Bell, Aasif Mandvi, Pitobash, and Alan Arkin.
Hit the jump for the press release and synopsis. Filming is set for India, Georgia, and Los Angeles. Million Dollar Arm will be released in 2014.
Director Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl) is in negotiations to helm Million Dollar Arm, a sports drama for Disney that is based on real life events. Starring Jon Hamm (Mad Men) as sports agent J.B. Bernstein. Million Dollar Arm tells the story of how two Indian cricket players, Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh became finalists Bernstein’s titular reality show and landed Major League contracts. Bernstein, burnt out from too many high-stress dealings with top-level talent, watched a cricket game on TV late one night and decided that the pitching motion was similar enough to baseball that there might just be a potential for some cross over. Where could a stunt like this possibly work? Why, with the Pittsburgh Pirates, of course! Hit the jump for more.
It turns out that Win Win director Tom McCarthy has already been working on his next film for a year. Variety reports that McCarthy will direct an untitled Boston Globe project, which centers on the Globe journalists who uncovered the Catholic Church’s extensive cover-up of child molestation in Massachusetts. Obviously due to the material’s touchy subject matter McCarthy wanted to keep the film under wraps for as long as possible, so he’s been working on the film in secret for the past year.
Producers have secured the life rights to the Pulitzer Prize winning journalists from the Boston Globe, including editor Marty Baron who was spurred to action when he came across a story of a Boston priest who had molested children. The resulting investigation found that Cardinal Bernard Law had been hiding years of serial abuse by moving the offending priests around from one parish to another, where the abuse often continued. Hit the jump for more on the project.
Up until the past 15 years or so, television series were firmly episodic. Serialized TV (outside of mini-series) risked alienating viewers since it stopped anyone from coming in mid-season. However, with the rise of DVDs, OnDemand, and digital downloads, serialized TV series have become firmly established. Some shows still retain an episodic nature, but some series—particularly dramas—have been built around telling one long story over the course of an entire season. Our new feature, Seasoned, will review a TV series by season rather than by episode.
Hit the jump for my review of the fifth season of The Wire. Click on the corresponding links for my reviews of Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, and Season 4.
Having successfully created a very popular franchise with the Night at the Museum films, director Shawn Levy is quickly becoming a prolific multitasker both as a director and a producer. Steve recently got the chance to sit down with the director for an exclusive interview regarding Real Steel’s visual effects Oscar nomination, but the extended conversation covered a number of upcoming projects. We already brought you the portion of the conversation dealing with Real Steel’s effects and the prospects of a sequel, as well as updates on the upcoming directorial efforts Interns, Fantastic Voyage, and Frankenstein. Throughout this week we’ll be bringing you different portions of the wide-ranging interview, and today we’ve got news regarding The Ten Best Days of My Life and Home Movies.
Levy confirmed that he’s developing an adaptation of Adena Halpern’s novel The Ten Best Days of My Life with Amy Adams attached to star as a woman who finds herself in heaven following an unfortunate car accident. Additionally, Levy talked about the time travel-esque pic Home Movies and revealed that Win Win writer-director Tom McCarthy is currently at work penning the script. Hit the jump for more on these two projects.
Win Win writer-director Tom McCarthy has made three outstanding films but his most recent gigs are writing jobs only (at least at this point). In February, he was hired to write the inspirational sports drama Million Dollar Arm, and now he’s been hired to write the supernatural family comedy Home Movies for DreamWorks According to Heat Vision, the story “centers on a man who is able to revisit certain moments in his life through his home movies and change things.” That’s an intriguing premise and it seems like a script that’s well-suited for McCarthy. All of his previous movies not only find honest drama, but they’re earnest and never resort to cheap laughs.
After three weeks of rave reviews in selected cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Phoenix, Win Win expanded to a host of new cities this weekend. It paid off with $5,398 per theater, (in the top 5 averages over the past 3 days) and $1.22 million overall. We’ve spread out our interviews with the film’s Oscar-nominated stars Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan and newcomer Alex Shaffer through the platform release because highly praised independent films which actually exceed that hype are rare and deserve all the extended support that sites like the one you’re reading can provide.
That brings us to our fourth installment: an interview with the film’s Oscar-nominated filmmaker Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, The Visitor and Up). For a writer, director and actor who is so meticulous about his work on both sides of the camera, he was surprisingly open about his process in all three disciplines. Hit the jump for the interview’s audio and transcript, including a look inside Pixar, the latest on The Million Dollar Arm, how Patricia Clarkson one-upped him on The Station Agent and his memories of an indie film trailblazer. Continued after the jump.
Win Win is easily one of the best-reviewed films of 2011. The film’s success is especially impressive, given that it rests so heavily on the performance of a teenager whose only prior acting experience came in a high school class and a small role in his 6th grade production of The Pirates of Penzance. 17-year-old Alex Shaffer delivers a strikingly assured film debut opposite three Oscar nominees: (Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan and Burt Young), an Emmy winner (Bobby Cannavale) and a 6-time Emmy nominee (Jeffrey Tambor). Luckily for the film, which continues its national rollout this weekend in a host of new cities and theaters, Alex wasn’t phased.
Shaffer filled Collider in on how much his life has changed since he went to the fateful audition that he had to be hassled into attending by a friend. Hit the jump for the audio and transcript of our lively exchange, including stories of why he had a hard time staying awake on set, whether he’d still pick wrestling over acting and which famous actor had him tongue-tied at Sundance.
One of the best films I saw at Sundance was Tom McCarthy’s Win Win. The film centers on a struggling lawyer (Paul Giamatti) who inadvertently ends up housing a young teenage wrestler (Alex Shaffer). While the film is somewhat lighter than McCarthy’s previous films (The Station Agent and The Visitor) it still hits strong emotional beats without coming off as cloying and dodges the indie comedy trap of being quirky for the sake of being quirky. Instead, McCarthy rests Win Win on honest performances of strong, well-written characters.
Hit the jump to check out the clips and click here for my full review. Win Win also stars Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Melanie Lynskey, Burt Young, and Jeffrey Tambor. It opens in limited release this Friday.
Actor/writer/director Tom McCarthy has written and directed three great movies with The Station Agent, The Visitor, and Win Win (he also worked on the story for Pixar’s Up). Now Disney is hiring him to pen the sports drama Million Dollar Arm. According to THR, the story is “based on the inspirational story of how sports agent J.B. Bernstein discovered professional pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel through his Indian reality show.”
Hit the jump to learn about Singh and Patel’s story and why I think McCarthy could do wonders with it. I’ve also included video of an ESPN Outside the Lines piece on Singh and Patel.
One of the best movies I saw at Sundance this year was Tom McCarthy’s Win Win. The film is warm, touching, and incredibly funny. Fox Searchlight has now released a trailer for the flick and I think it does a fine job of selling the picture without giving too much away.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer and click here to read my review of the film. Win Win stars Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Melanie Lynskey, Jeffrey Tambor, Bobby Cannavale, and Alex Shaffer. It opens March 18th.
I still have plenty of movies left to see at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but I don’t know if any will leave me smiling as much as Tom McCarthy’s Win Win. The movie a gigantic ball of warmth filled with terrific performances, smart humor, and genuine emotions. Even a glaring narrative question doesn’t slow the film down because you’re too busy caring about the characters and their journey. Everything in Win Win is earned, from the laughs to the sentiment, and the payoff is tremendous.
In our recent interview with Paul Giamatti — shortly before he won the Golden Globe for his performance in Barney’s Version — one of the many projects he talked about was Win Win. You sense his enthusiasm for the movie and his respect for writer/director Tom McCarthy:
“It’s a very nice movie directed by this guy Tom, written and directed by this guy Tom McCarthy who did The Station Agent and The Visitor… And he wrote Up too. He wrote the movie Up. He’s a great guy. It’s a great movie.”
Giamatti plays “a disheartened attorney moonlighting as a high school wrestling coach” in Win Win, which just premiered at Sundance in advance of a March 25 release from Fox Searchlight. Hit the jump to see an amusing clip from the movie of Giamatti and co-star Bobby Cannavale, plus brief Q&A’s with Giamatti and young actor Alex Shaffer at premiere.
We’re bringing you the first images from films premiering at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and today we’ve got two films that will have their out-of-competition premieres at the festival: Win Win and Salvation Boulevard. Win Win features Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, and Jeffrey Tambor. The film comes from writer/director Tom McCarthy (The Visitor), and centers on an attorney (Giamatti) moonlighting as a high school wrestling instructor who stumbles upon a star athlete with a mother fresh out of rehab.
Salvation Boulevard is a comedy starring Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Greg Kinnear, Marisa Tomei, and Jim Gaffigan. The flick centers on the head of a mega-church (Brosnan) who frames an ex-hippie for a crime he didn’t commit. Hit the jump to check out images and a brief synopsis for both films. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 20 – 30th.
Tom McCarthy, who along with starring in the final season of The Wire has directed the indie favorites The Station Agent and the even better The Visitor, has booked his next directing project as Win Win, and it’s taking shape very quickly.
With shooting set to start Monday in New York, Fox Searchlight has announced that Melanie Lynskey, Bobby Cannavale and, yes, even Arrested Development vet Jeffrey Tambor will join the already unveiled Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan in the flick.
So, what’s it about? The story–also written by McCarthy–is about a struggling attorney (Giamatti) who moonlights as a high school coach. He becomes the legal guardian of an elderly client, and when the old man’s teenage son runs away, Giamatti’s character’s family ends up taking him in. The lad goes on to join the wrestling team and, well, you can imagine it will get pretty uplifting from there – but, in the hands of McCarthy, I’d imagine pretty darn entertaining and insightful too, so definitely keep your eyes on this one.