Million Dollar Arm is based on the personal story of JB Bernstein, Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh and the TV contest that changed their lives. I participated in a Q & A with the three gentlemen where we talked about their families, learning the game of baseball and being role models. JB Bernstein summed up this experience when he said, “I’ve been a sports agent for 20 years. I’ve never done anything good until I met these guys.” Obviously this experience was life changing for all three of the men in more ways than one.
Interviewing the actors from the movie was a lot of fun. I sincerely enjoyed hearing JB, Dinesh and Rinku share their real life stories. These men took chances and faced many uncertainties, which is inspiring.
Q: In the movie, it shows how you came to decide to do “The Million Dollar Arm” contest. Would you say it was relatively accurate to how the chain of events actually began?
JB: You know, some of the things they touch on were accurate…I have business partners and they were part of the “idea generation” but it’s hard to tell a movie from 80 points of view. In reality, my two business partners, Will Chang and Aasif Suferat, who were both in the movie, helped us. We kind of were both thinking about these things separately and it wasn’t really until we came together that the idea, you know, came that we should try to find talent in India too. We should try to do this game show and see if we could find some athletes. So it’s pretty accurate in that it shows the inspirations for things but obviously, I’m not smart enough to come up with this idea by myself.
Q : How does it feel seeing yourself in the movie?
DINESH : This is a big deal for me. I’m very happy and my family is also happy so good deal.
Q: How was it learning the game?
RINKU: Yes, it really takes some time. Just like, if you took an American baseball player and make them become a cricket (player), they have no idea how to pitch in cricket, right? So that was a totally different world for me coming here and playing professional baseball. I had no idea. It did take a year but I believe that it doesn’t matter what you’re doing in your life if you’re willing to give whatever you got inside and out, you are gonna succeed.
Q: What was it like to leave your families and what kind of role has family played in your life?
DINESH: My parents, were really afraid of me leaving. They say, don’t go because this is the new world for me.
RINKU: Besides leaving the family, we left our culture, family, friends, food, and we were just 18 year old kids. Making that huge decision wasn’t easy for us. That was just on top of everything. What are we gonna do without knowing anything about American culture. We don’t know language. We don’t know anybody besides JB. And our parents, they were really afraid cause we never went out to the country.
And that really changes our life, you know. That really teaches us, whatever comes to your life, you make that decision if you’re willing to, just like I said, give in and out, you will be happy for the decision you made. So I’m really proud of the decision I made for coming to America. It’s totally amazing. It has changed my life, changed my family life, and I want to stay here.
Q: How did this experience change the way people see you?
RINKU: Lot of grown up young kids that look at us as a role model and even — even Dinesh like went back to (our) country, he helped a lot of kids to teach them how to play baseball and really helped those kids to, first of all, to sharing his journey, what he had been through that his journey meant a lot to those kids that was before I was growing up with those kids. I had the same dream to just get a job, support family, that’s it.
But since we did something different than those kids, it really opened their eyes and they are dreaming big now just like we proved them. We proved them, even their mom and dad. They talk about (being) like Rinku and Dinesh. We already have done enough to make them realize that — that if you want to see dreams, see something big. So those kids really seeing their dream in us so…
Q: What was it like for you to be portrayed by Jon Hamm?
JB: Well you know, the resemblance is striking. [LAUGHTER] As you guys know I’m sure, some of you by demographic watch Mad Men. I guess a lot of women watch that show. I don’t know why.
RINKU: Obviously, cause they love him.
JB: Exactly. It’s a good show. It’s a good show. He, is probably one of the hottest actors in Hollywood. Everybody’s throwing parts at him. Every studio wants to get him into a film. They realize Mad Men is winding down. He’s the It guy.
So the fact that, with everything available to him, that he chose to play me is very humbling and surreal. He gets me really well. There are like parts of the movie where, you know, friends of mine have seen him and go “Oh My God, how long did you know, he stay with you?” And I was like “I didn’t meet him ‘til halfway through they were starting the filming.” So he obviously thought like I’m the most trite person ever or they wrote a great script.
But it was really humbling and he’s become a good friend and someone that I really care about, someone who is just a genuinely good guy.
Q: In the six years that you guys have been here, do you feel like you’re much more acclimated to this country and that you feel more at home here or do you still feel like you’re missing home?
RINKU: Home is always gonna be home no matter what. No matter how happy you are in other country but you always gonna miss home. I’m pretty sure that it would be the same for you guys. Doesn’t matter where you live. You always miss your home. Um, like for me, being here, I have to be happy even I am happy to be here just cause of my dream is here. My dream is here. I got my mom and dad there and I go once in a year, go back to home, get my heart charged, get ready for another year or two, whatever it’s gonna come in front. But talking about happy in America, yes. But like I said, home is always gonna be home. And I always gonna miss home. And I’ve been missing it so…
DINESH: When I was here, I miss a lot of home. But right now, I’m living in India with my family. I’m happy.
JB: Do you miss America now that you’re back?
DINESH: Yeah. [LAUGHTER]
JB: What do you miss? Movies? TV?
DINESH: Of course. Pizza.
Million Dollar Arm is in theaters nationwide on Friday May 15.
* I attended an all-expense paid press trip courtesy of Disney/ABCTV/Disney XD. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. All Photos Copyright @ That’s IT Mommy/Tee Burgess.