I was invited to Los Angeles on an expense-paid trip in exchange for coverage of the events that we attended. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Read my other #MillionDollarArmEvent coverage (interviews, movie review, and more) HERE.
Aasif Mandvi, who plays JB Bernstein’s business partner Aash, gave the movie a comical element as well as a grounding element. Aash was always good for a laugh, but at the same time I felt like his character tied in the importance of family so well.
Here’s what Aasif had to say about playing Aash:
I think he’s funny but he’s also the grounding character, you know. He’s the one that sort of is the counter point to Jon Hamm’s Playboy character. I like that aspect of it. I also feel like it was an interesting character to see a South Asian Sports Agent because I don’t know any, you know.
And then I got to work with Jon Hamm every day who is dreamy so…
Yes, we can only imagine!
Aasif’s favorite part of filming Million Dollar Arm:
Although Aasif’s character, Aash, doesn’t spend much time in India in the movie, Aasif was still able to take advantage of the India experience. Of all of the scenes in the movie, his experience in India stands out as the best part of making this movie.
It was really actually fun going to India and shooting because, having been born there and having family there and having visited India many times, it’s a whole different experience when you go with an American Film Crew to India. It’s actually the best way to see India – in the bubble of a big Hollywood Production. You don’t have to deal with any riff raff going around, you know, in an Air Conditioned car and stuff.
I got to see the Taj Mahal, which I’ve always wanted to see and never had (the chance).
I’m with you, Aasif. I’d love to make it to India and the Taj Mahal someday…though I might research cooler times of the year. It looked like it was SO hot!
Working with the babies in Million Dollar Arm:
Aash’s character (and particularly his comic relief) was greatly enhanced by his on-screen kids. We loved learning about what really went on behind the scenes with the twins and hearing his perspective on working with babies! Here’s what Aasif had to say:
Oh the Twins. Well, they had two sets of twins. So it wasn’t the same (set of twins), but you can’t tell because they’re Indian and probably look alike. [LAUGHTER] But if you watch closely, you’ll see that they’re actually two sets of different twins. The twins that I’m feeding in the kitchen are not the same twins that I’m holding on the porch.
Ahh! The porch scene! As Aasif was telling us this story, he had the entire room cracking up!
So we’ve got two sets of Indian parents who have these two sets of twins and they’re, poor things, sort of hiding off in the corner. The kids would just cry. And the (porch) scene was not about these kids crying, and Craig Gillespie, the Director, he was like, you know, kids cry. So let him just cry because there’s no way we could stop them from crying. So Craig’s theory was like every time we see Aash and his children, his children are just screaming. And that’s just the reality of his life. So in the bed, they’re crying. They weren’t supposed to be crying. In the kitchen, they’re crying.
And then, finally is that on the porch, the kids were again, crying and I’m supposed to be holding them, and the kid is literally screaming for his mother. He’s just like, ‘I don’t care about your stupid movie, I want to be with my mom.’ And finally I said to Craig, ‘Listen, I can’t do this anymore. This kid has snot coming out of him and he’s crying. He’s just a mess, you know.’ And Craig was like, ‘Listen we have to get this shot, OK? We need this shot. I don’t care how much…just let the kid cry. I don’t care. Just grab him, walk out onto the porch, we get the shot, we’re done. We’re out of here.’ So I’m like ‘Fine, OK.’ So they roll Action, I grab this kid – it’s like pulling cheese off a Pizza.
So I grab this kid. He’s holding on to me, the hair, everything, and I grab him like, ‘Come on, come on Sweetie, come on.’ And we go running on to the porch and I’m standing there getting the shot. I’m shaking him and then suddenly he looks at me and just pukes. And it’s just all over my clothes. And twice, he did it twice! It’s in the Movie. You can see it. So it’s totally real.
I take the kid, I’m holding him out here like — like an Actor who’s suddenly been puked on and the kid is just puking. He’s just, there’s puke everywhere. It’s all in my clothes, in my hair. But we got the shot.
What was it like portraying a real person?
We were curious how much the real Aash inspired him or helped him in creating his movie character. I was surprised to hear how different the real Aash is compared to the movie version.
Well I know Aash. I met him before I did this movie. We have mutual friends and stuff. First, he’s not married. He doesn’t have kids. The real Aash is very different than the Aash in the movie so I didn’t really worry about trying to portray him at all. I just created a character for the purposes of the film because the real Aash is more like JB in the sense of he’s a single guy, you know. He’s a tough guy in San Francisco.
It was interesting to play someone who actually is a real person. I’d never done that before, so now people always want to take pictures of the two of us together, you know. And he’s thrilled because like I said, we’ve known each other for a long time. So it’s exciting for him to have somebody he knows actually portray him in the film. It was good.
Aasif’s new projects:
Aasif is currently doing an HBO Series called “The Brink” with Jack Black and Tim Robbins that will be coming out next year. The Brink is a comedy about the end of the world (think: the world is on the brink of Armageddon). It’s a Geo-Political Comedy seen through the eyes of 3 Departments of US Government: State Department, Foreign Service, and the Military…but it’s a comedy.
Aasif also has a book coming out this Fall called “No Land’s Man.” No Land’s Man (A Perilous Journey through Romance, Islam, and Brunch) is basically humorous essays/stories about his life…from growing up as a kid in England to being a high school student in Florida and then coming to New York for his career.
The message in Million Dollar Arm:
The message that Aasif hopes that people will come away with after watching Million Dollar Arm is that anything is possible.
What I hope people will take the most is the idea of possibility, the idea that anything is possible. It’s the American Dream!
I love that. And anything really IS possible! If you haven’t seen Million Dollar Arm yet, you’ve got to head to the theater ASAP. Just keep an eye out for Aash’s twins…and the porch scene! Check out one of Aasif and Jon’s scenes in the movie:
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