We were invited to a private interview with Lake Bell and some of the cast from Disney's Million Dollar Arm! I was invited as media to attend this all expense paid trip in exchange for my coverage. All opinions are my own.
If you've been following my Disney adventures, you've seen some of my recent interviews with some of the cast for Million Dollar Arm. I've interviewed Jon Hamm, interviewed Madhur Mittal and Suraj Sharma, and also attended the world premiere event for Million Dollar Arm (AMAZING). You've already seen the amazing footage of the world premiere for Million Dollar Arm, but now it's time to dig deeper and learn more about the movie from behind the scenes.
About Million Dollar Arm:
Based on a true story, sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) finds that business has changed and things aren’t going well for his career. In a last ditch effort to save his livelihood he concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “The Million Dollar Arm.” With the help of cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin), he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”), two 18-year-old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India, the boys, who have never left their rural villages, are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell), learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.
Our recent interview with Lake Bell, the supporting actress who joined Jon Hamm in some of his adventures of the story for Disney's Million Dollar Arm, was such a delight during our phone interview. Our interview with Lake Bell left us with a better understanding of what it was like to play the character of Brenda. Brenda was JB Bernstein's tenant who often supported Rinku and Dinesh during their training. She later became JB's girlfriend (then wife). Brenda was very close to Rinku and Dinesh and helped JB Bernstein to understand life from their perspective. The story truly is amazing — the motivation to keep relentlessly following your dreams, and the humility knowing that the most amazing people in this world don't have to be the most powerful and most outspoken. And it was all a true story based on real events and real characters — by the way, we also interviewed the REAL JB Bernstein, Rinku, and Dinesh! A definite must-see!
QUESTION: How did you prepare for the role?
Lake Bell: “It’s interesting, because it’s a true story, the thought was finding the real person and latch onto that. But in this situation, since we aren’t playing iconic characters in history, it’s a different ball game (no pun intended). Knowing the message and honoring the thematics of the story itself was more important. Who was Brenda and how did she live her life?”
QUESTION: Did you ever meet the real Brenda?
Lake Bell: “No, I didn’t get to meet the real Brenda until the premiere. Her husband was on set quite a bit, though, and he spoke of Brenda often. I learned much about Brenda from JB's perspective (which hopefully was accurate).”
QUESTION: Were you able to travel to India at all during filming?
Lake Bell: “No, she felt like she got left out. [LAUGHS] Not really complaining, but when all the boys came back from India, they did a lot of complaining about the 127 degree weather and gotten sick. I would’ve taken all of that, and packed my Pepto Bismal to have a life experience there. I was super bummed for not going to one of the most extraordinary places in the world.”
QUESTION: How you balance between directing and acting? And do you prefer one over the other?
Lake Bell: “Once you understand your schedule for one, everything kind of works out and makes sense with your schedule. To make a movie takes years of your life and you can’t take any acting jobs if you're directing.”
QUESTION: As a writer, actor, and director – which do you prefer?
Lake Bell: “I like ALL three, I feel very lucky to exercise all of them. Since acting has been my career, I am an actor first and foremost.”
QUESTION: What kinds of challenges did you face during filming?
Lake Bell: “They actually filmed in Atlanta and India mostly (and LA). Atlanta rained quite a bit and it was hot.”
QUESTION: What was it like to work with Jon Hamm?
Lake Bell: “Well I've known Jon for years and we’re buddies already. It was great working with him, we work well together because we already know each other.”
QUESTION: Are you a baseball fan?
Lake Bell: “Nothing against baseball, but I knew nothing about it. But Jon [Hamm] is an avid baseball fan. I didn’t know about the story, and didn’t think it was true, but it is and I love the craziness of the movie. Research says you have to have 10,000 hours of experience to be an expert and these guys [Rinku and Dinesh] learned it in 10 months. It just seems so surreal to me that our human capabilities could actually accomplish this in such a short period of time.”
QUESTION: What do you think sets Million Dollar Arm apart from other sports movies that have come along?
Lake Bell: “They overcame at the age of 17, such huge challenges. The raw undeniable talent is utterly inspiring. And knowing your own physical capabilities and being able to do it was what was so amazing about this movie. There’s no gray area with winning – just like running a race – you either win or you don’t. By the end of the movie, you really do get goosebumps.”
QUESTION: What were your favorite scenes in Million Dollar Arm?
Lake Bell: “I liked scenes that I wasn’t even in. I love Amit Rohan (Pitobash) and seeing Suraj and Madhur together. I think they are masterful at invoking emotion and comedy at the same time. My favorite scenes were with Pitobash because he was so funny.”
QUESTION: What did you admire about Brenda?
Lake Bell: “She's direct and not trying to sugarcoat. She’s an advocate of tough love. She’s smoking hot, lovely, and sweet. She was highly complimentary when I met her, and love how down to earth she is.”
Million Dollar Arm hit theaters on May 16, 2014! A definite must-see for the whole family!
Check out the featurette for the Million Dollar Arm:
Want to know more or stay up to date with the #MillionDollarArmEvent then be sure to follow on all the social channels for more news to come for Million Dollar Arm: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | @DISNEYPICTURES on Twitter
*Photos courtesy of Disney