EXCLUSIVE: Mad Men star Jon Hamm has become attached to play a sports agent in Million Dollar Arm, the drama based on the true story of how sports agent J.B. Bernstein discovered professional pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel through a reality show he staged in India with cricket players. Mayhem Pictures’ Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray are producing with Joe Roth and Palak Patel of Roth Films. Thomas McCarthy wrote the script and the plan is to shoot in the fall.
Bernstein repped top talent, but was burnt out and disillusioned until he watched the cricket game on late night TV and noticed how similar the game’s throwing motion was to that of baseball pitchers. He headed to India and wound up hatching the reality show Million Dollar Arm and auditioning 40,000 hopefuls. He brought back the two 19-year old finalists to the U.S., but it wasn’t as simple as signing with a ball club and heading to the minor leagues. Neither player had ever ventured beyond their rural village and Bernstein had to teach them as much about American culture and speaking English as he did the rules of baseball. All the work paid off when the imports became the first Indian players to sign pro baseball teams when they got contracts with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hamm, who’s repped by ICM and Forward Entertainment, most recently starred in and produced the Jennifer Westfeldt-directed Friends With Kids.