Home Run, in theaters April 19, is about a famous baseball player named
Cory Brand (Scott Elrod), who has a serious drinking problem. He is an alcoholic. He
causes a terrible D.U.I. accident, severely injuring the passenger of his car. This is his
second D.U.I., and police footage from the first D.U.I. has gotten over a million hits on
YouTube. His drunken behavior on and off the field has become legendary.
Can anyone out there relate to this story, thus far? Your obsequious narrator sure can. In fact, I was asked to speak at the movie's recent screening in Miami because I made the costly mistake of driving drunk in 2009. Two felonies and somewhere in the ballpark of $15,000 later, I have become a new person with high moral standards, an animosity towards alcoholic beverages, and invitations to attend and speak publicly at such things as screenings of films about alcoholism.
After the screening, I was asked by one of the movie's promoters if I would be interested in interviewing Vivica A. Fox, who stars as Cory Brand's agent (kind of like a female Jerry Maguire). The woman is a goddess, so of course I accepted.
Vivica A. Fox called me -- me! -- the next morning from a car in Los Angeles, and told me that she was on her way to work (shooting the sitcom Mr. Box Office).
"Versatility has definitely been the key to my success," she stated early in the conversation. After sharing our own personal drug- and alcohol-related testimonies, and then explaining to her that one of my goals in life is to play a game of golf with Larry David, we got down to business.
She talked about her enlightening experiences while on the set of Home Run: "The movie is really about a man's transformation. None of us are perfect. We all go through trials and tribulations. The simple solution is surrendering and saying, 'I've got a problem and I need help.' Then letting the Lord turn your life around."
That's something Fox has personal experience doing. "The movie was shot in Tulsa, Oklahoma and I was staying in a hotel across from Oral Roberts University. I was going through a breakup with the man I was engaged with. We were going to get married, but we decided to call it quits. It just seemed like the Lord had me in the right place at the right time. Every morning when I woke up, I saw this statue of giant praying hands that are in front of the university. It was great because I didn't have to be in Los Angeles with people asking about my breakup. The Lord put me there to keep me strong and focused and to know that I could make it through this."
She talked more about her spiritual foundation. "I go to church in Los Angeles," she said.
"My mother raised us in church. She was a strong Christian parent and we were always in
church: Sunday school, vacation Bible school, whenever the church was open, we were
there." She continues, "I thank the Lord each and every morning that I am blessed to
wake up and have another day to enjoy. God has been good to me."
Fox's character, Helene Landy, was a part originally written for a man, Fox divulges. But she says she had little trouble getting into character. "I am a huge sports fan," she said, "so that was another reason why playing a sports agent was so easy for me. I grew up as an athlete. I played basketball, volleyball, track, and I was a cheerleader in high school. I literally wake up to ESPN every day."
Part of my preparation for this interview was watching the entire sixth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm in one night. When I told Fox about this, I discovered the show was another saving grace.
"When I hit Curb Your Enthusiasm, I was at another crossroads in my life," she remembered. "I had participated in Dancing With the Stars, and got unfairly booted off. I was ready to drown myself at the bottom of a pina colada. My manager called me the next day and says that I have an audition with Curb. I'm like, what do they want with me? Well, they're adding a black family on the show and Larry David is really interested in you. So, when I got there, they just handed me a little piece of paper, because it's all ad-libbed. That is why the show is so good, because you come up with your own material. I go in, Larry comes into the room (you don't meet him before the audition). The scene starts and I just go, 'What up, L.D.? Did you get me some ice cream?' and then we finished the scene and I left. I'm ready to hit that pina colada when my phone rings and guess what? I got the part."
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Home Run is in theaters April 19.
-- Jason Handelsman