Pic a foul ball, Chi sez

Reeves starrer 'Hardball' protested for negative portrayal of youths

Two Chicago officials say Paramount’s Windy City-set pic “Hardball” is not playing fair with foul language.

Mayor Richard Daley and public schools head Paul Vallas ripped the Keanu Reeves starrer for its profanity-peppered portrayal of inner-city youth, many of them black. Reality-based tale, stemming from the book “Hardball: A Season in the Projects,” chronicles a baseball team comprised of kids from Chi’s toughest housing projects. Reeves plays the team’s coach.

During a public appearance Wednesday, Mayor Daley told reporters the movie appeared to be ignoring the inner-city tykes’ positive traits and “trying to portray these kids as saying four-letter words.”

Added Vallas, according to Reuters, “This is not ‘The Bad News Bears’ that we’re filming here. This is an R-rated movie that seems to be reinforcing negative stereotypes about inner-city children.”

Neither Daley nor Vallas could be reached for comment Thursday.

Par officials noted the pic, which is three weeks into shooting, is not slated for a specific MPA rating.

Studio had no further comment except for a short statement asserting “Hardball” is “a dramatic work of fiction. While it is inspired by real events, all of the characters in this film are fictional.”

A small protest on the movie’s set Wednesday was organized by Bob Muzikowski, one of the real-life coaches who contends the kids depicted in the movie were never allowed to swear.

“We are kind of heartbroken,” Muzikowski told the Chicago Sun-Times, whose headline blared “Hey, Keanu, Clean Up Your Movie.” “They have come into our town and taken a wonderful story and dirtied it up because they think they know how black kids act.”

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading