Sometimes dreams can come true.
That is one of themes of “The Pitcher,” a novel written by best-selling author and Campton Hills resident William Hazelgrove about a broken down World Series pitcher meeting a Latino boy with a golden arm.
Hazelgrove’s dream is also coming true, as the novel is being turned into a movie. Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf spoke to Hazelgrove about the project.
Eric Schelkopf: Tell me about the project.
William Hazelgrove: This is a great producer, Ed Bates, of Gigantic Pictures. They do a lot of stuff with Kevin Costner. Ed Bates is going to write the script, which is even better.
Schelkopf: Have you heard about who might be in the movie? Would Costner be in the movie?
Hazelgrove: I really haven’t. Right now, they are writing the script, and when the script gets done, we will know a lot more.
They are supposed to have the script done in August, and then they move to the next stage, getting more toward production and all that.
They are pretty extensive on the script. They go through like 12 rewrites to get it right. I think he wants to try and get it done before baseball season ends.
Schelkopf: Is he involving you in the process?
Hazelgrove: I told him I didn’t really want to be involved in it. I’m really a novelist. I tried once to write a screenplay, and I didn’t like it. It’s just not my thing.
Schelkopf: Of course, Costner has been in a few baseball movies. Do you think he would be good in the movie?
Hazelgrove: The main character in “The Pitcher” can’t be too old, because there is a romantic interest. And yet he has to be seasoned.
So, I think that brings up Kevin Costner as kind of the logical guy. He’s played a pitcher before.
Schelkopf: Tell me about the message of “The Pitcher.”
Hazelgrove: It’s a very simple story about what do you do when a dream is all you have. That’s really the story, a Latin American kid with a golden arm but no money and no means and an old, broken-down, World Series pitcher who sits in his garage and drinks.
It’s a story about two people in different points in their life, one guy at the end of his dream and the other at the beginning, and they come together.
Schelkopf: How did the book come about?
Hazelgrove: My mother-in-law in Florida told me about an old World Series pitcher who lived across the street from her.
So, I went out there. My son and I, who is a pitcher, were playing ball in the street near his house.
He kind of gave us his views on pitching and life, and then went back in his garage. And that was pretty much it.
So, that’s what gave me the idea of sort of a World Series pitcher and the kid with a golden arm.
With a movie, you really have to have a plot that you can sell in a few sentences. And that’s kind of what “The Pitcher” is.
Schelkopf: When you [were] writing the book, did you ever envision that it could be turned into a movie?
Hazelgrove: Not really. I write from emotion. My son was in organized sports for nine and a half years, so I had a lot of observation about what had been going on with him, and so I kind of took all of that.
I read all the time, but I grew up seeing a lot of movies and television shows. So, I probably have more of a film idea in my head. I see scenes.
But whenever I write a novel, I’m just writing it to sort of work out an idea or emotion, and then you hope people like it. You hope people respond to it.
You always would like the movie thing, because that really gets the word out on the book.
Schelkopf: “The Pitcher” is about more than just baseball, right?
Hazelgrove: Yes, there’s baseball, obviously. But it’s really about relationships and people moving on and evolving.
Again, what do you do when really all you’ve got is your dreams? How do you overcome the odds to get that?
That’s really what it is all about. And it’s probably also about what a mother will do for her son, which is another big theme in the book.
That came from my experience. I was an assistant coach for many years when my son was playing baseball, but my wife was the one behind him, pushing him, doing everything. I wanted to get part of that in there, too.