Sports Movie Firms Growing

Hollywood Sign
Gary Minnaert
Hollywood Sign

As Hollywood has taken on more sports movies in recent years, a growing niche of full service helpers has emerged.

These businesses often help cast the hard-to-get actor extras who both look like athletes and understand choreographed plays that fit with the plot. Some of these companies also help design the uniforms, making sure they all look authentic.

The leader in the space is a company called Sports Studio, which over the past four decades has outfitted the teams in "The Natural," "League Of Their Own," "Bad News Bears," "Any Given Sunday," and both the original and the remake of "The Longest Yard."

The company is currently working on many projects, including a movie about Canadian hockey broadcasting legend Don Cherry.

Sports Studio researched and made more than 500 minor league hockey sweaters to replicate the exact look from decades ago. That's not including the vintage socks, sticks and skates.

Sports Studio is also working on the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' "Moneyball."

It might not seem that hard to costume the movie's version of Oakland A's, and the teams that they played, since it's relatively contemporary, but because team jerseys obviously have changed since 2002 and baseball has taken on a new manufacturer since then, it's a challenge.

"We have to get the jerseys exactly right," said Sports Studio's chief executive Mark Koesterer, who noted the firm will be making some of the uniforms. "From the size of the logos to the size of the stripes."

When the film starts shooting next month, aimed for a 2011 release, Koesterer said his company will coordinate the action scenes.

That shouldn't be too hard.

In an interesting twist, 26 members of the A's team will play themselves, including former manager Art Howe, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first baseman Scott Hatteberg, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Brad Pitt will play A's general manager Billy Beane.

Another company that is making a push in the space is called Sportsarc. Its president is James Lafferty, who plays the character of Nathan Scott on the show "One Tree Hill."

The company choreographs the action in "Friday Night Lights" and is currently working on a movie called "Sweetwater," the story of the first African-American player in the NBA.

"There are four companies in our space, so it's pretty intense," said Sportsarc chief executive Brendan Kirsch.

Kirsch said there are currently 14 sports films that are in the works that might be looking for these firm's services in the next couple months.

As of now, no one has been hired to work on Lewis' other adaptation, "The Blind Side," the story of offensive tackle Michael Oher, which has Sandra Bullock in it.

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