Jon Hamm is a sucker for baseball movies and a die-hard Cardinals fan, but that’s only part of the reason he chose to make Million Dollar Arm. Directed by Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl), the film, inspired by true events, tells the redemption tale of sports agent J.B. Bernstein (Hamm), a real-life Jerry Maguire who strikes out on his own only to have the ace defensive lineman he’s been trying to land as a client ditch him for a big corporate agency. So in a Hail Mary pass to save his business, Bernstein hightails it to India with a mission: to find cricket players he can morph into Major League Baseball’s next superstars. He finds two (Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma and Slumdog Millionaire’s Madhur Mittal), but air-dropping these boys from remote Indian villages smack into the middle of the American dream forces Bernstein to realize that he is responsible for more than just making a commission. He is responsible for them. ”He learns how to be a better human being,” says Hamm, who saw the role as an antidote to his Don Draper on Mad Men. ”I spend the majority of my year playing not the best human being on the planet.” The production shot in India for almost a month, often in 120-degree heat, which gave Hamm perspective on what Bernstein had achieved. ”Once you see India, you see what J.B. met with on day one,” Hamm says. ”If it were me, I would have been like, ‘Nope, this is never going to happen.”’
Posted April 11 2014 — 12:00 AM EDT
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