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“Mickey” Debuts in Selected Cities

"Mickey" screenwriter John Grisham came to Williamsport in the spring of 2001 for a news conference at the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (May 4, 2004) – “Mickey” has come to the big screen.

Harry Connick Jr., stars in “Mickey,” an original screenplay written by best-selling author John Grisham, who played Little League Baseball in Southhaven, Miss., in the 1960s. Much of the final portion of “Mickey” was filmed in June and August 2001 at Little League International in South Williamsport, home of the Little League Baseball World Series. A film crew of about 100 spent 12 days in the Williamsport area.

Mr. Grisham’s first visit to Williamsport came in February 2001 to pitch the idea to Little League International.

“We knew that Little League’s involvement would be crucial because the story culminates at the World Series in Williamsport,” Mr. Grisham said by telephone today from Charlottesville, Va. “Hugh (Wilson, the film’s director) and I flew up to Williamsport and I got the grand tour of the facility for the first time. For me it was almost like going to heaven.

“When we filmed the two weeks up there, we asked the locals to come and play extras in the movie. Williamsport and the surrounding community answered the call and were extremely supportive.”

Other portions of “Mickey” were filmed in Charlottesville, as well as Richmond, and Petersburg, Va.

The film has opened or will be opening soon in other U.S. cities. For information on the location nearest you, visit www.MickeyTheMovie.com.

Mr. Connick plays Tripp Spence, a widower who finds himself on the run with his 12-year-old son, Derrick, who is a baseball phenomenon. Mr. Wilson also directed “The First Wives Club,” “Guarding Tess,” and “Blast from the Past,” among other hits.

In “Mickey,” Tripp Spence and Derrick decide to assume new identities and flee to Las Vegas, forcing Derrick (whose new name is Mickey), to forego his final year of eligibility in the Major Division of the local Little League in Virginia. But Mickey’s new identity makes him a year younger, and he plays in the following year as a 12-year-old, believing that the fraud will end with the final game of the regular season.

“Most serious Little League dads like myself have the thought, ‘What I would give for one more year of Little League Baseball,’” Mr. Grisham said. “That’s where the thought originated, and I took it a step or two further and concocted a plot and a scheme whereby a father could do that.”

Crewmembers from "Mickey" outnumbered the players during the filming of "Mickey" at Howard J. Lamade Stadium in June 2001.

They don’t count on the fact that the league they’ve joined in Las Vegas is about to have a dream season, and its all-star team - led by Mickey - will have a chance to reach the pinnacle of youth sports: the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

“My two favorite sporting events each year to watch on television are the College World Series and the Little League World Series,” Mr. Grisham said. “I’d rather watch the Little League World Series than watch the Yankees and Braves.”

Shawn Salinas (“All That,” Nickelodeon), an actor/athlete from California, plays the title role. The role of Tony, Mickey’s coach, is played by Mike Starr (“Dumb and Dumber,” “Ed Wood,” “Mad Dog and Glory,” “On Deadly Ground” and “The Bodyguard”). Michelle Johnson (“Death Becomes Her,” “Far and Away”) plays the principal of the Las Vegas school where Mickey and his father end up.

Mr. Grisham’s first novel, “A Time to Kill,” was published in 1988 while he was a practicing attorney and a member of the Mississippi state legislature. His next novel, “The Firm,” spent 47 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. It was made into a movie starring Tom Cruise, and the film became one of the biggest hits of 1993. “The Pelican Brief,” starring Julia Roberts as a Tulane University law student, was released the following year and was another major hit. “The Client” and “The Chamber” enjoyed similar best-seller status, and in 1994 “The Client” became yet another hit film, this time with Susan Sarandon starring in a role that earned her an Oscar nomination.

John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill,” “The Rainmaker” “The Chamber,” and “Runaway Jury,” also have been adapted for the big screen. “Mickey” will be his second original screenplay to be made into a movie. The first was “The Gingerbread Man” in 1998. Another best-selling novel, “A Painted House,” was made into a television movie.

Some of the extras in the filming of "Mickey" were autograph seekers - a common sight at the Little League Baseball World Series.

Mr. Wilson has directed several box office successes, but also is known from his days in television. He was the creator of “WKRP in Cincinnati,” and wrote for the “The Bob Newhart Show.” This is his first project with Mr. Grisham.

“I have always wanted to make a baseball movie,” Mr. Wilson said. “John and I have known each other for some time, and when I read ‘Mickey,’ I knew this would be the one.”

Harry Connick Jr., has played a tailgunner in “Memphis Belle,” a college student in “Little Man Tate,” a serial killer in “Copycat,” a jet fighter pilot in “Independence Day,” a leading man/love interest in “Hope Floats,” and has a recurring role on television’s “Will and Grace.” But he is best known for the musical sides to his personality: big band, New Orleans funk, classic American standards and jazz. He has numerous multi-platinum albums, is a Grammy Award winner and has been nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy.

Only one other motion picture, “The Little Giants” in 1958, received permission to use the Little League trademarks. “The Little Giants” is the story of the Monterrey, Mexico, Little League team that won the Little League Baseball World Series title in 1957. The movie also was the last to be filmed substantially in the Williamsport area.

“We’re pleased that Mr. Grisham wrote his screenplay with Little League Baseball as the backdrop,” Mr. Keener said. “Little League rarely approves the use of its trademarks in films or on television. However, we believe that the positive moral message at the outcome of ‘Mickey,’ as well as the outstanding reputation of Mr. Grisham, Mr. Wilson and the entire production company will reflect well on Little League.”