Last week, a Federal judge refused to prevent the release of the Little League baseball movie “Hardball,” starring Keanu Reeves, despite the objections of Chicago Little League Coach Bob Muzikowski, whose life the film is supposedly based on.
Muzikowski originally attempted to block the film”s release because he said that the film misrepresented him and the kids that he coached.
Paramount”s claim is that the film”s plot is fictional and that it is only inspired by the Daniel Coyle book about Muzikowski, “Hardball: A Season in the Projects.” Muzikowski responded by asking, in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, “If it”s not a true story, why are they filming on my block?”
Attorney Tomas Harvey, who represents both Muzikowski and youth leader Al Carter (who is also allegedly depicted), claims that the movie portrays the African-American youths in the film as foul-mouthed delinquents and racist caricatures, when they were actually well behaved and decent.
Muzikowski also claims that he never released the rights to his story to Paramount. “We had no input in the film whatsoever … We got the screenplay, and the language is just off the chart. This will be a new record-breaking low.” He pointed out that other kid sports movies like “The Mighty Ducks” and “The Bad News Bears” never had the children swearing to the degree that the characters in “Hardball” do, and he believes that the film reinforces stereotypes about black youths.
While filming was still going on, Paramount”s legal department advised Muzikowski to “refrain from visiting any location on which the picture is being filmed. Muzikowksi said that if he eventually won his lawsuit, he would “build a stadium for the kids … on Paramount”s dollar the irony is beautiful.” Muzikowski has said that he will continue to fight against the film, which opens in theaters today.