Married couple Sofía Vergara and Joe Manganiello have teamed up for their first movie together and, surprisingly, it's not a romantic comedy about two attractive actors who embark on a whirlwind romance after one of them has had a crush on the other from afar for years.
Instead, the new movie Bottom of the 9th is a drama about a man, Sonny Stano, who was drafted by the Yankees as a teen, but ended up in prison for nearly 20 years after accidentally killing another teenager. With the inclusion of a real baseball team and a story that sounds like it could have actually happened, it's understandable to assume that Bottom of the 9th is a true story.
Unfortunately for true crime enthusiasts, that not exactly what's going on here. The film (previously titled Stano), was written by Robert Bruzio and is his first feature, and a story completely of his own invention. In an interview with Forbes, he explained, "The movie is about a one-time phenom, who grows up in the Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx. He winds up killing a kid in a street fight, throwing away all prospects of a career." He added, "It’s a redemption story. A feel-good story centered around the world of baseball. And there’s some prison reform elements to it, too."
That said, the true story behind Manganiello and Vergara coming together on this film might just be enough to pique your interest.
Manganiello, who also produced the movie with his brother, came on board after reading the Bottom Of The 9th script five years ago, according to his recent profile with Men's Health. He knew that if he wanted it to get made, he'd have to do it himself. In May, Saban Films bought the North American rights to the movie, and Manganiello said in a statement to Variety, "It was a labor of love for me and I am so lucky to be partnered with people so genuine and passionate about the film."
Manganiello producing the film himself explains how he ended up being able to star opposite Vergara, but he says he actually had her in mind for the part before they got together. "I read the script before I met her," he told Extra. "And I remember when I read it, I thought to myself, I think this would be a really good role for Sofía Vergara."
Fast forward a few years, and they were married and did end up working together. And it sounds like it was kind of the dream work scenario: "It was so much fun for me!" Vergara told Men's Health. "I wish I could work with him more. We shared a trailer and it was so great to drive to work and back together while rehearsing lines and drinking coffee. It was very easy for me to play the character that was in love with him."
While the movie isn't based on a true story, clearly a true story has been worked into Bottom of the 9th in one sense thanks to Vergara and Manganiello's real-life relationship and chemistry. The story sounds dramatic on its own, but these two starring together alone might be enough to get Jofía fans on board.