Michigan may not be among the most glamorous or chic places to live, but it does have one thing on other states – and that is its love for its sports teams, particularly the Detroit Tigers, who never seem to lose the loyalty and support of their adoring fans.
Is there anything we look forward to more than heading straight to Comerica Park once the oppressive gray skies of winter have finally turned blue and we're allowed to venture outside the house without wearing three layers of clothing?
Director Oz Scott picked up on this quality and, thanks to the spreading out of film productions, he strategically chose to film his upcoming baseball movie, Home Run Showdown, in Milford.
"Michigan just has a huge baseball culture," he explains. "Everywhere you go, the Tigers are on television. Plus summer is gorgeous there, with all the foliage and hot sun beating down on you in the baseball field."
It was this culture and feel that carried the movie, giving it its spirit and genuine enthusiasm and providing Scott with more than enough extras. Over 3,000 kids showed up in their uniforms with their cleats on and gloves ready for the casting call, and one boy even landed himself a pretty big role in the film.
The film is about a 12-year old boy who doesn't make the youth baseball team and ends up forming his own team and competing at the home run showdown. A family man himself, with a wife and three kids, Scott was inspired to make the film in reaction to the lack of family-friendly comedies out today.
"I want adults and kids to go to the movies together and enjoy this film," Scott says. "A lot of families saw it, and the kids saw it one way and the parents saw it a different way. There's something wonderful about that."
Scott's inspiration for the film came after coaching his son's baseball team. Incidentally, one of the things that struck him from the experience also happens to be something that he wants kids to know in general. "It's not about having the best players, it's about having a team," he explains.
Knowing that dealing with children would be a challenging task, he brought his friend and colleague, Matthew Lillard, aboard the project to play coach Joey Deluca. Having previously worked together on the film Spanish Judges, Scott knew he also had the acting talent to do this role.
"Matthew puts himself into it and commits himself," says Scott. "He has a wonderful sense of humor and really took the kids under his wing. He knows how to have fun, but is also able to have the emotion." Alongside him as Lillard's rival is Dean Cain, who Scott says is a big sports guy and was immensely enjoyable to have on set.
The ultimate goal for Home Run Showdown is to get people to recognize that life isn't all about being out for yourself. "Baseball is a team sport. Life is a team sport. And we all need to work together," he says. | RDW