San Francisco Chronicle (US), September 13, 2001
Brian Robbins Interview
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Brian Robbins wanted his film about an inner-city Little League team to be as realistic as possible. So he shot "Hardball," which opened at No. 1 this weekend with $9.3 million, at a Chicago housing project. Robbins told Associated Press Television News that it was "extremely rough and scary at times," but worth it. "I wanted to get the sense of the buildings so we actually built our baseball field right in like the quad of these buildings," he said. The movie was inspired by Daniel Coyle's book about his time coaching a baseball team in Chicago's housing projects. Keanu Reeves plays Conor O'Neill, who scalps tickets to finance his real occupation: losing heaps of money on sports bets. Robbins also said the kids in "Hardball" required some extra pointers because many of them were making their film debut. "We did improvs and we talked about staging and blocking and, you know, staying in character," he said. "And it worked."