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Director Paris Barclay says he thinks it’s time Major League Baseball had a female player.
Barclay, who directed the pilot for Fox’s new series Pitch and also executive produces, attended a screening of the pilot held for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles on Sunday on the Fox lot.
Pitch, which stars Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker, a pitcher who becomes the first woman to play Major League Baseball, is set to air Sept. 22. Its message for women participation in sports, as well as the job responsibilities of a director, were the subject of focus during the Q&A with Barclay following the screening. (The Hollywood Reporter collaborates with BBBSLA on its Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program, which pairs ambitious inner-city girls with top-level female executives.)
“I think we’re very close to having a woman Major League player,” said Barclay. “By visualizing it, by having the support of Major League Baseball, now all we have to do is find that one person who can take the mound and do it.”
Barclay, who has won two Primetime Emmys, each for his direction of NYPD Blue, started shooting the series five months ago. It took nearly a month to edit, and the entire pilot was filmed in just 14 days.
“That’s not a lot of time for the amount of baseball, the amount of action, and the amount of filming we had to do,” Barclay explained. “And this is mostly complicated by the fact that Kylie is really pitching, and like a real professional pitcher, cannot pitch every day.”
The series also stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar as the catcher for the San Diego Padres, the team that drafts Ginny to the Major League. Through Ginny, the audience receives an inside look into locker room behavior, the pressures she is struggling with, and the negativity she is forced to confront.
“We’re hoping that one of the great things about Pitch,” highlighted Barclay, “is that people seeing her (Ginny) out there and the struggle she’s going through is going to soften the ground in order for something like this to really happen.”
Barclay will be directing four out of the series’ 10 episodes, including the pilot and the finale. Other series he has directed or produced include ER, Sons of Anarchy, The West Wing, Glee, Cold Case and The Shield. He grew up as a Cubs fan in Chicago.
“The tagline of this series,” he said, “is ‘a true story on the verge of happening.'”
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