The original inspiration for “The Yankles” can be traced back to the opening scene from the film, “The Chosen,” based on the novel by Chaim Potok and directed by Jeremy Paul Kagan. In that scene, orthodox yeshiva students wearing black fedora hats and long black coats walk onto a Brooklyn blacktop and proceed to play a competitive and aggressive game of baseball against ordinary Jewish high school kids, while their rabbi coach sits on the bench with his face buried in the Talmud.
This show of force came as a shock, and I was proud to see yeshiva students knock a dent in the stereotype that Jews cannot play sports. I thought of how intertwined Jews and baseball have been since the birth of the game in the mid-nineteenth century. From Hank Greenberg to Sandy Koufax there is no other single sport that has produced as many Jewish superstar athletes. I began to think of the potential for a unique movie based entirely on the premise of an orthodox rabbinical college baseball team.
My brother Zev and I began writing “The Yankles” script with the expectation of creating a high concept comedy, but intentionally crafted the story and characters to avoid playing on cheap stereotypes which poke fun at the orthodox community. Our sensitivity stemmed from the fact that our father is a Rabbi who was raised in the orthodox section of Brooklyn, and that our uncle is the head of an orthodox yeshiva in Philadelphia. Zev and I also attended orthodox day schools in our youth and Zev currently works as a cantor at a synagogue.
We were determined to create characters that were realistic and engaging, and that could be funny without being silly. We wanted to craft a story involving Jews that didn’t center around the Holocaust, victimization, Israeli politics, or which devalued Jewish customs and traditions. The biggest challenge in writing “The Yankles” script was adhering to our principals, without being preachy, while delivering the comic element we knew the audience would expect.
David R. Brooks
“The Yankles” ran theatrically in over 50 major and minor film festivals throughout 2010 and 2011 winning 9 awards including Best Comedy, Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Audience Choice. In 2012, “The Yankles” was picked up by Mark Cuban and Magnolia Pictures for North American home video distribution. The movie was released across all platforms including DVD, Bluray, Pay Per View, On Demand, iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Blockbuster, and major retailers including Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and many more. In 2013, “The Yankles Official Motion Picture Soundtrack” was released by MVD Entertainment on physical CD and digital download available on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby.
Website Design by Angela Brooks creativecondor.com