On Thursday, a press event was held to announce production of Junichi Mimura’s upcoming baseball movie Bokutachi no Play Ball. Executive producer and former professional baseball player Tsuyoshi Shinjo (37) was in attendance along with two of the film’s stars, Yuki Kohara (13) and Ruka Sawaki (11). Shinjo pointed out that Koharu bears a strong resemblence to Nippon Ham Fighters pitcher Yu Darvish, to which the young actor responded “I’m very honored.” Sawaki, a member of a baseball club in elementary school, expressed her excitement about being able to combine two of her loves: acting and baseball.
Los Angeles-based Sotokoto Pictures Inc. recently shot some footage for the film at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania which hosts the Little League World Series every summer and has also been home to several minor league teams. The film will reportedly tell the story of a young Japanese baseball team’s quest to be part of the series, as well as one father’s dream of playing professional baseball in the US. The scene recently shot in PA featured the father, Tsuneo (Eisaku Yoshida) playing on a US minor league team after being demoted from his own Japanese team due to injury.
Actress Michiko Hada, who plays Tsuneo’s wife Kanako, was sitting in the stands with the aforementioned Kohara, who plays their son Kyuji. They were surrounded by a crowd of around 75 extras recruited from the area.
Aside from the stadium shoot, which lasted about 6 hours, the crew has been seen shooting in other areas around Williamsport including Brandon Park and Vallamont Drive, with further filming planned for the Hiawatha River Boat, Little League International, and downtown.
“Bokutachi no Play Ball” is slated for release in Summer 2010, courtesy of Go! Cinema.