Pitch: Co-creator talks Jimmy Kimmel scene
Every week, a member of the cast or crew of FOX’s Pitch — the fictional story of the first woman to play Major League Baseball — is taking EW behind the scenes. For each episode, a cast or crew member is sharing thoughts on what went down, what’s coming up, and walking us through the ins and outs of the show. This week, co-creator Rick Singer walks us through the second episode, “The Interim.”
As told to Chancellor Agard:
This is an incredibly crucial episode for us because it sort of answers the fundamental question: What is this series going forward after the pilot? And I think we answer that resoundingly by showing that this is very much the beginning of Ginny’s [Kylie Bunbury] journey. I like to think of it as though she’s Alice having just gotten shot out of a canon in wonderland and overnight she has become this incredible media figure and she’s got an incredibly difficult job trying to do something that’s difficult for anyone: to try and be a Major League Baseball player and keep her spot on the roster and just be one of the guys and be another player. Unfortunately, she can’t do that. Like with all the episodes in this first batch, it’s about her finding her voice, finding her place and becoming more and more herself as she navigates that under this hot media spotlight.
On the workout montage:
On working with Jimmy Kimmel:
[Co-creator] Dan Fogelman and Jimmy go way back and are very good friends, so that obviously helps facilitate things. But, Jimmy couldn’t have been more amazing. We worked a little bit with him in terms of crafting how the scene was going to unfold, but within that we just sort of established that at the top of the scene they were just going to naturally speak to one another. A lot of that banter up top was improv’d. Jimmy was just interviewing Ginny Baker and Kylie was answering as Ginny Baker and it’s very natural and really interesting. Then, they sort of delve into the scene, but it was really fun. We also knew it was her first appearance on a nighttime talk show like this. So we knew that there were going to be these natural nerves on her part that were going to completely work for the scene and work for the character because it’s Ginny’s first appearance as well.
I have to give enormous credit to Kylie because we did this during a Jimmy Kimmel Live taping. They had an extended commercial break, but we had one take. We did that in one take and Kylie just absolutely nailed it. We were sitting there in the green room and all just on pins and needles because we knew there was no margin for error and it just came off perfectly.
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On writing Ginny’s speech about sexual assault:
The actual words themselves were written by Dan Fogelman and that’s never a bad thing. It was really well done. I think we really able to straddle that line without getting too preachy, but making a very valid point and the fact that all of these stories that get nationalized and become about other things when they’re really very simple stories about the fact that victims get blamed all the time, things get politicized. When it really just comes down to it, she says it’s just a question of right and wrong. I think Dan wrote the scene beautifully and Kylie delivered it. Delivering it on Kimmel in that way, it really came alive with that live studio audience reacting spontaneously. The audience had no idea what the content was. They had no idea what the context was. Ultimately, what they ended up hearing was this speech and it’s just a natural response once they figured out what the scene is about and what she was saying.
On Blip’s (Mo McRae) lucky t-shirt subplot:
We wanted a lighter story. We just felt like we had some heavy stories going on and it’s part of our show tonally; it is a dramedy and we want some comedy in every episode. As far as this particular story goes, superstition is a huge part of sports and when we talked with our major league players and asked about the lighter side of things, that was the one main thing that they all talk about. Everybody has their rituals. So we felt that this was a funny area to explore, that Blip would have this specific t-shirt that he’s been using since minor leagues, that every time he gets into a slump, he takes out that t-shirt and wears it in warm-ups and that’s a ritual he’s got going. It disintegrates in the wash because he’s had it forever. Ultimately, it shows the lengths to which Evelyn [Meagan Holder] will go to keep him happy. It’s a small representation of how adorable they are and also what these baseball wives have to go through. I just loved their acting in that last scene. That last little bit of her telling him to get on in there and smell the bag was such a fun little improv on her part.
On Amelia [Ali Larter] and Mike’s episode-ending hookup:
We want something propulsive that’s going to come out of one episode and intrigue you and entice you to watch next week to see what happens. Having seen both Mike and Amelia’s respective relationships with their exes on screen and how both of them are in their own ways damaged and vulnerable, and thinking what would be the most interesting moment for the audience to see them on screen together for the first time, this idea cropped up and we thought, “Huh, that’s an interesting development. Let’s explore that and see what happens.” We had them sit down at the end of the bar and stay tuned next week to see what happens.
Pitch airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.