Would A ‘Sandlot' Reunion Ever Happen? Ham Himself Weighs In
These days, Kickstarter is the place to go if you want to revive your beloved television series or movie franchise for a new generation. "Veronica Mars" got its own movie funded in 2013; "Reading Rainbow" is currently heading to Netflix after raising the most money in Kickstarter history last year; and even "Mystery Science Theater 3000" just recently got in the game with a new campaign, too.
Add to that our current obsession with relaunching all the stuff we watched in the '90s (hello, "Fuller House" and "Girl Meets World!"), and it seems like now might the perfect time for a reunion of the 1993 film "The Sandlot," which is hands down one of the best movies about baseball, childhood, and strangely-adorable murder dogs that's ever been made.
If "The Sandlot" ever did go the crowdfunding route, at least now they've got somebody who officially has some experience with a successful campaign: Patrick Renna, who played Hamilton "Ham" Porter in the film. His new Kickstarter-backed movie "Bad Roomies," which he produced along with his co-star Tommy Savas, writer Justin Mooney, and director Jason Schnell, is finally being released on video on demand this December, and was funded thanks in no small part to fans of "The Sandlot" and of the team's Youtube channel, Reckless Tortuga.
"[At the time], 'Veronica Mars' had just sort of killed it, you know, made oodles of money, so we kind of said, 'Anyone can do this!'" he admitted to MTV News over the phone. "Little did we know its also a lot of work, and whoever ran that 'Veronica Mars' campaign worked their tail off."
Renna said he's not opposed to the idea of a "Sandlot" reunion, either, if he could round up his eight other co-stars from the film -- the only member of his former fake baseball team that he's seen with any regularity over the years is Chauncey Leopardi, who played Squints and who also still works as an actor. But he's pretty confident that Kickstarter would be a perfect place to re-launch the film.
"I'll meet grandparents with their kids and their kids that all watch it, [so] that would be the one to do on Kickstarter and would probably have a lot of success," he said. "Because what we found in doing it is when you have a real fan base or what you're doing -- like 'Veronica Mars' -- I think that’s one that’s the most successful."
"I think a 'Sandlot' one would do pretty darn good, but I don’t know. You want to run it, I'll do it, how about that?" he joked.
As he was only 13 at the time, Renna admitted that he had no idea the impact that "The Sandlot" would have -- it was his first acting job, after all! But he's happy to see that the film has seen a huge resurgence in the past few years since the 20th anniversary, and was more than happy to share some of his memories of filming and of the film's legacy:
"The Sandlot" director David Mickey Evans came up with some of your favorite lines while on set.
Nowadays Patrick Renna is no stranger to ad-libbing scenes during filming -- in "Bad Roomies" he and his co-star Tommy Savas riff constantly, and the writer of the movie was also on hand to "mess around and rewrite" if they needed. But his very first experience being fed lines on the fly came on "The Sandlot."
"What we did a lot of was, the director would shout lines to me while we were rolling and I would just have to say the," he said. "So, you know, the whole scene when we play the opposite team, when I'm sort of razzing the batters, that whole scene was David Mickey Evans yelling things at me.
"I'm sure if you found the footage of the entire shot it would be him saying, ‘Say your sister’s up there in left field naked!’ and then it would be the 13 year old me cracking up, giggling to myself probably, putting my head down, him going ‘Come on Pat, focus!’ and I'd be like, “Okay, okay okay.” And then I had to say the line, and then we'd all laugh, and then he'd say another line. That’s pretty much how to went."
The treehouse was a real set.
"They actually built an entire house, a façade, next to the sandlot, and they built a treehouse next to the sandlot, so all 9 of us were in this tiny treehouse. It was probably a nightmare for production because it was so tight," he said.
"We were cracking each other up so much because it was so funny to all of us, even at such a young age, that that probably made it take twice as long as well. I remember that whole scene being a lot of fun, because its also the scene where Chauncey tells the whole story [of , so it was great."
Those S'mores were all real, by the way. -- and so was some other stuff in the movie.
Renna has no idea how many he actually ate while filming that scene, but he has no regrets. " I don’t think it mattered, I think I enjoyed every minute of it! I'm sure I ate plenty, and yeah, they were real, the real deal. Just like the puke scene was the real deal." Wait, really? Gross.
He doesn't mind getting recognized at all.
Renna might not be the pre-teen he was in 1993, but he's still got the same distinctive facial features he did back then, which means he gets recognized a lot. However, he has a very positive attitude about getting stopped on the street -- although don't ask him to regurgitate one of his lines from the movie, because he'll probably decline.
"I would not say it's frustrating because 99% of the time, it's people that are remembering a great moment in their childhood and they're just telling me how much it meant to them, and I just don’t see how that could ever be a burden, you know? It's pretty awesome," he said.
"I'll definitely get requests for [reciting] things," he added. "I don’t usually do them because, you know, I feel like that’s a lot of pressure on me. That’s a lot to live up to, so I don’t want to disappoint. It [won't] the same line reading, and I don’t know if the thirty-something version of it is quite as cute, you know?"
"Bad Roomies" is available for digital release and VOD December 1 and can be preordered on iTunes.