A League of Their Own EPs Talk Penny Marshall Meeting, Series Themes
With Amazon Studios now giving an official series green light to Abbi Jacobson (Broad City), Will Graham (Mozart in the Jungle), and Sony Pictures TV's reimagining of Penny Marshall's 1992 film A League of Their Own a chance to get in the game with a series order, Jacobson and Graham are offering more details on what viewers can expect. Speaking with THR, the pair wanted to emphasize two important series aspects. First, the series will be its own work and will stand respectfully separate from Marshall's film. Jacobson and Graham also revealed that the series will not shy await from addressing issues of sexuality, inclusion/exclusion, and racism- specifically, how Black players were prohibited from trying out for the league ("This series is going to tell the story of inclusion, but it's also going to tell the story of exclusion and what happens when that magic door doesn't open for you").
To that end, Jacobson and Graham consulted with Marshall about the series, with the film director giving her blessing to the project- in particular, their interest in pursuing themes Marshall was only able to briefly touch upon on the big screen. "Will and I talked to Penny on the phone and got to ask her questions, especially about the nod to racism within the league at the time," explained Jacobson. "She said the movie was made in the early '90s and she said she was trying to tell the story of this incredible women's professional baseball league and, at the time, she wanted to try and comment on everything but didn't have the real estate within the film to get to do it. I left thinking that we get the real estate to try to explore everything where she got that from."
Spending time with those involved with the film, especially Marshall, proved to be the kind of inspiring experience Graham was hoping it would be: "Meeting Penny — and everyone who was involved in the movie who we've talked to — it was both scary because we love their work and what they made but then also exciting because what Penny said at end of that conversation was, 'Exploring these stories was life-changing for me and I hope it is for you, too.' It was incredible to hear from here."
Jacobson and Graham have a strong level of both love and respect for the original film, which is why it's important that it be able to stand on its own- as should the Amazon series. "At this point, the movie is the movie and so much of the inspiration for this show has been going back to the whole set of the original stories and looking at them through a new lens. It's already been pretty life-changing for us and all writers and cast," explained Graham. Jacobson knows that there will be comparisons, but she sees the end result as being a positive, "strength-in-numbers" one: "We are in no way trying to replicate or replace this classic film. It's right here and we're going over here. We're definitely going to be compared to the film but I am excited for both to be able to exist. There can be two things about these women … there can be 10."
With a pilot directed by Jamie Babbit and written by Jacobson, Amazon Prime's A League of Their Own is an hour-long comedy/drama that tells the personal stories of the women surrounding the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The show begins with the formation of the league in 1943 and follows the Rockford Peaches season-to-season as they struggle to keep the team alive through close games, injuries, late-night bar crawls, sexual awakenings, not crying, and road trips across a rapidly changing the United States. The show takes a deeper look at race and sexuality, following the journey of a whole new ensemble of characters as they carve their own paths towards the field, both in the League and outside of it
D'Arcy Carden (The Good Place), Gbemisola Ikumelo (Famalam), Kelly McCormack (Killjoys), Priscilla Delgado (Julieta), Chanté Adams (Bad Hair), and Roberta Colindrez (Vida) join Jacobson on the series. Melanie Field (Florida Girls), Molly Ephraim (Perry Mason), and Kate Berlant (The Good Place) are set to recur. A League of Their Own is produced by Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television, in association with Field Trip Productions. Graham and Jacobson executive produce, alongside Field Trip's Hailey Wierengo. Elizabeth Koe serves as co-executive producer, with pilot director Jamie Babbit also executive producing the opener.
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